emotion, apraisal thoery of emotion, human robot interaction


Autonomous robots are increasingly being used in everyday life; cleaning our floors, entertaining us and supplementing soldiers in the battlefield. As emotion is a key ingredient in how we interact with others, it is important that our emotional interaction with these new entities be understood. This dissertation proposes using the appraisal theory of emotion (Roseman, Scherer, Schorr, & Johnstone, 2001) to investigate how we understand and evaluate situations involving this new breed of robot. This research involves two studies; in the first study an experimental method was used in which participants interacted with a live dog, a robotic dog or a non-anthropomorphic robot to attempt to accomplish a set of tasks. The appraisals of motive consistent / motive inconsistent (the task was performed correctly/incorrectly) and high / low perceived control (the teammate was well trained/not well trained) were manipulated to show the practicality of using appraisal theory as a basis for human robot interaction studies. Robot form was investigated for its influence on emotions experienced. Finally, the influence of high and low control on the experience of positive emotions caused by another was investigated. Results show that a human - robot live interaction test bed is a valid way to influence participants' appraisals. Manipulation checks of motive consistent / motive inconsistent, high / low perceived control and the proper appraisal of cause were significant. Form was shown to influence both the positive and negative emotions experienced, the more lifelike agents were rated higher in positive emotions and lower in negative emotions. The emotion gratitude was shown to be greater during conditions of low control when the entities performed correctly,suggesting that more experiments should be conducted investigating agent caused motive-conducive events. A second study was performed with participants evaluating their reaction to a hypothetical story. In this story they were interacting with either a human, robotic dog, or robot to complete a task. These three agent types and high/low perceived control were manipulated with all stories ending successfully. Results indicated that gratitude and appreciation are sensitive to the manipulation of agent type. It is suggested that, based on the results of these studies, the emotion gratitude should be added to Roseman et al. (2001) appraisal theory to describe the emotion felt during low-control, motive-consistent, other-caused events. These studies have also shown that the appraisal theory of emotion is useful in the study of human-robot and human-animal interactions.


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Graduation Date





Sims, Valerie K.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program

Modeling and Simulation








Release Date

September 2007

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Psychology Commons