The project THRIVE/THRIVE++ is funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR-EOARD) with the aim of investigating the embodiment and socio-cognitive mechanisms in the development of trust between humans and robots involved in interactions and joint tasks. The work is based on the strategic coupling of developmental robotics modeling and empirical human-robot interaction experiments to evaluate the robot’s embodiment properties (e.g. voice, emotional, humanoid appearance) and sociocultural mechanisms (e.g. joint attention, joint action, group assimilation) in establishing trust. The new phase of the project (THRIVE++) adds a strategic focus on the role of Theory of Mind, and its developmental stages, in supporting trust with people and robots.

Goals of the project

This project aims to investigate the complex, dynamic interaction between people’s and robots’ ToM skills for the building of trust interactions. It specifically aims at the design a computational cognitive developmental architecture for the design of ToM capabilities in robots, and its role in contextualized human-robot trust interactions, investigating the effects of developmental, social and contextual factors in ToM and trust. The project objectives to achieve such aims will be:

  • To identify the theoretical and experimental bases of the developmental, socio-cognitive agency mechanisms and the contextual factors affecting the acquisition of ToM for trust.
  • To design a developmental robotics cognitive architecture of ToM and trust based on the incremental acquisition of intention reading and ToM agency skills.
  • To validate experimentally the use of the robot’s ToM in supporting trust interaction with people in a variety of social and environmental contexts.
  • To simultaneously investigate the dynamic interaction of people’s ToM of the robot and of the robots’ ToM of people in human-robot and robot-robot dyads, and in hybrid human/robot teams.
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