Motor Interference And Behaviour Adaptation in Human-Humanoid Interactions
This thesis proposes and experimentally demonstrates an approach enabling a humanoid robot to adapt its behaviour to match a human’s behaviour in real-time human-humanoid interaction. The approach uses the information distance synchrony detection method, which is a novel method to measure the behaviour synchrony between two agents, as the core part of the behaviour adaptation mechanism to guide the humanoid robot to change its behaviour in the interaction. The feedback of the participants indicated that the application of this behaviour adaptation mechanism could facilitate human-humanoid interaction. The investigation of motor interference, which may be adopted as a possible metric to quantify the social competence of a robot, is also presented in this thesis. The results from two experiments indicated that both human participants’ beliefs about the engagement of the robot and the usage of rhythmic music might affect the elicitation of the motor interference effects. Based on these findings and recent research supporting the importance of other features in eliciting the interference effects, it can be hypothesized that the overall perception of a humanoid robot as a social entity instead of any individual feature of the robot is critical to elicit motor interference in a human observer’s behaviour. In this thesis, the term ‘overall perception’ refers to the human observer’s overall perception of the robot in terms of appearance, behaviour, the observer’s belief and environmental features that may affect the perception. Moreover, it was found in the motor coordination investigation that humans tended to synchronize themselves with a humanoid robot without being instructed to do so. This finding, together with the behaviour adaptation mechanism, may support the feasibility of bi-directional motor coordination in human-humanoid interaction.