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Empathy in Human–Robot Interaction: Designing for Social Robots

by 1 and 2,*
1
School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA 31401, USA
2
Department of Human Centered Artificial Intelligence, Sangmyung University, Seoul 03016, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1889; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031889
Received: 31 December 2021 / Revised: 5 February 2022 / Accepted: 6 February 2022 / Published: 8 February 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mobile Health Interventions)
For a service robot to serve travelers at an airport or for a social robot to live with a human partner at home, it is vital for robots to possess the ability to empathize with human partners and express congruent emotions accordingly. We conducted a systematic review of the literature regarding empathy in interpersonal, virtual agents, and social robots research with inclusion criteria to analyze empirical studies in a peer-reviewed journal, conference proceeding, or a thesis. Based on the review, we define empathy for human–robot interaction (HRI) as the robot’s (observer) capability and process to recognize the human’s (target) emotional state, thoughts, and situation, and produce affective or cognitive responses to elicit a positive perception of humans. We reviewed all prominent empathy theories and established a conceptual framework that illuminates critical components to consider when designing an empathic robot, including the empathy process, outcome, and the observer and target characteristics. This model is complemented by empirical research involving empathic virtual agents and social robots. We suggest critical factors such as domain dependency, multi-modality, and empathy modulation to consider when designing, engineering, and researching empathic social robots. View Full-Text
Keywords: human–robot interaction; social robot; virtual human; empathy; affect; emotion human–robot interaction; social robot; virtual human; empathy; affect; emotion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Park, S.; Whang, M. Empathy in Human–Robot Interaction: Designing for Social Robots. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 1889. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031889

AMA Style

Park S, Whang M. Empathy in Human–Robot Interaction: Designing for Social Robots. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(3):1889. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031889

Chicago/Turabian Style

Park, Sung, and Mincheol Whang. 2022. "Empathy in Human–Robot Interaction: Designing for Social Robots" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 3: 1889. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031889

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