People prefer robots that engage in small talk

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London, Mar 21 : People are more accepting of robots if they engage in a small talk during conversations, says a new study.

In order to find out how quickly domestic robots should respond to their owners' requests, a research team led by Toshiyuki Shiwa at the ATR laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, questioned 38 students.

The volunteers were asked to give orders such as 'take out the trash' to the mechanical bodies, which took between zero and 5 seconds to respond.

The exercise revealed that the students liked delays of no more than 1 second best, with 2 seconds being their limit.

However, when the time taken by the robot was longer, impatient students were assuaged if it filled the time with words such as 'well' or 'er'.

"When the robot used conversational fillers to buy time until it could respond, people didn't notice the delay," New Scientist quoted Shiwa, as saying.

The study was presented at Human-Robot Interaction 2008 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

ANI

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