Although traditionally researchers have focused on making robotics more user-friendly from a human perspective, a new theory has begun to take shape in which humans take on the perspective of a robotic entity. The following set of studies examined the concept of technomorphism defined as the attribution of technological characteristics to humans. This concept has been mentioned anecdotally and studied indirectly, but there is nothing currently available to tap in to the various forms that technomorphism may take. Therefore, one goal of this dissertation was to develop a scale to fill that purpose. The results of the Technomorphic Tendencies Scale (TTS) indicated that there are marked differences between those who technomorphize and those who do not. Further, the wording of the TTS items may have influenced an individual’s propensity to respond in a technomorphic way. It may also be that, since technology is so new from an evolutionary perspective, it was difficult for humans to have the adequate verbiage to express their feelings about it. The other goal of this dissertation was to examine where the individual differences may lie in the tendency to technomorphize. During the scale validation process, the Technomorphic Tendencies Scale was used alongside other scales, including those measuring anthropomorphism, acceptance of technology, perceptions of robots, and personality characteristics to determine what characteristics helped determine in what contexts people technomorphize. The results indicated that there were indeed individual differences between those who do and do not technomorphize as it relates to other constructs. iv An examination of the individual differences also was performed by capturing the low level and more objective differences that may have existed. To do this, the researcher utilized an eye tracker to examine exactly what the participant focuses on while viewing the model pictures. There were indeed differences in the self reported and attentive level scores between those who fell in the different ranges of technomorphism. The results of both the scale validation and individual differences component of this dissertation suggested that technomorphism does indeed exist. Furthermore, it may be related to how we see each other. Through the study of technomorphism, researchers have come slightly closer to the question of how technology is influencing our perceptions of what it means to be human. The findings from this work should help fuel the desire of others in the field to think about the potential influences of technomorphism during the design and implementation of new devices as well as in how technology may be related to how we perceive each other.
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Sims, Valerie K.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Applied Experimental and Human Factors Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Lum, Heather Christina, "Are We Becoming Superhuman Cyborgs? How Technomorphism Influences Our Perceptions Of The World Around Us" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1866.