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Self-assemblage of robots has more appeal: Study

New York: It is human nature to be biased towards your own creations, your own work, your labour of love, because it gives you a feeling of satisfaction.

A theory called the IKEA effect, based on consumer behaviour which has a similar hypothesis, was studied by scientists to prove that the theory also applies to building robots.

The team of researchers, which also involved one of Indian-origin, found that if people construct their robot themselves, they tend to get a more positive perception of their creation.

S. Shyam Sundar and Yuan Sun from the Pennsylvania State University put 80 undergraduates to the test and asked them to assemble a robot.

The goal was to determine how their perception of the robot changed depending on what they were told about the robot in advance, and how much they participated in the assembly of the robot.

After setup, both groups got to interact with the robot for five to ten minutes. Afterwards, all the undergraduates filled out a survey full of questions about sense of ownership, sense of accomplishment, as well as how they felt about the setup process.

The results, presented recently at the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction in New Zealand, showed that robot users held higher sense of self-agency when they set up a robot by themselves, which generated more positive evaluations to the robot and the interaction process.

As with self-assembling furniture and self-designing products, building a robot also seem to have generated a positive “I designed it myself” effect, according to the researchers.

The study suggested that even if you could sell your robot as fully assembled and ready to go right out of the box, people would like your robot better (and think that it is a better robot) if you let them participate in the setup process, and perhaps let them do a little bit of simple customisation.