While previous work has investigated aspects of the robot, the human, and the environment as influential factors in the human-robot relationship, little work has examined the role of social conformity in this relationship. As social conformity has been shown to affect human-human choice, relationships, and trust, there are a-priori reasons to believe that it will play an influential role in human-robot interaction (HRI) scenarios as well. Early research into the influence of social conformity in human-robot interaction (HRI) did not find the effect to be present with robots, however more recent work has adapted the methodological paradigm to find more consistent evidence of conformity in HRI settings. Here two studies investigated the impact of response methods (e.g., the ability to change your response), task types (i.e., arithmetic or line discriminations) and task importance on conformity with robots. Previous research has demonstrated conformity effects with the change response technique but not with the ordered response technique in HRI research. The first experiment aimed to specifically quantify the distinction in methodological change that has resulted in the conformity effect. This was done by examining both the task and response methods used. The second experiment aimed to add to the body of literature on the impact of task importance on conformity in HRI. While task importance has been shown to increase conformity in human-human research settings, this has yet to be specifically examined in HRI conformity research. Results from Experiment 1 show that a conformity effect is present with humans but not robots in the change response condition under certain task settings. Results from Experiment 2 indicate a pattern of conformity with robots but not humans during high importance tasks. These findings are discussed in relation to the body of literature on conformity and HRI settings as a whole.

Graduation Date





Hancock, Peter


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program

Psychology; Human Factors Cognitive Psychology







Release Date

November 2023

Length of Campus-only Access

3 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)