Saygin, A.P. (2012) What can the brain tell us about interactions with artificial agents and vice versa? 34th Annual Meeting of Cognitive Science Society, Workshop on Teleoperated Androids, Sapporo, Japan.
No longer encountered only in science fiction, artificial agents such as humanoid robots and interactive animated characters are rapidly becoming participants in many aspects of social and cultural life. Artificial agents have a range of biomedical, educational and entertainment applications. In particular, they can enable telepresence, opening a range of new possibilities for human interaction. For these technologies to succeed however, we need to understand human factors guiding our interactions with these agents. In our research we use methods from cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging to explore how humans perceive, respond to, and interact with others, including artificial agents. Not only can we inform the design of new agents by studying human brain responses in interactions with artificial agents, but studies with artificial agents can improve our understanding of how the human brain enables some of our most important skills such as action understanding, social cognition, empathy, and communication. We suggest interdisciplinary collaboration is the most fruitful way to proceed in advancing robotics and animation on one hand, and cognitive science and neuroscience on the other. Keywords: action perception; uncanny valley; mirror neurons; biological motion