People are known to change their behavior and decisions in order to conform to others, even for obviously incorrect facts. Due to recent developments in artificial intelligence and robotics, robots increasingly are found in human environments and there they form a novel social presence. It is as yet unclear if and to what extent these social robots are able to exert similar peer pressure. This study uses the Asch paradigm which shows how participants conform to others while performing a visual judgment task. We first replicate the finding that adults are influenced by their peers, but show that they resist social pressure from a group of small humanoid robots. Next, we repeat the study with 7 to 9-year old children and show that children do conform to the robots. This raises opportunities as well as concerns for the use of social robots with young and vulnerable cross-sections of society; while conforming can be beneficial, the potential for misuse and the potential impact of erroneous performance cannot be ignored.



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Science Robotics

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School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License