AI and Society 35 (2):381-390 (2020)

Abstract
To investigate whether people with social anxiety have less actual and “anticipatory” anxiety when interacting with a robot compared to interacting with a person, we conducted a 2 × 2 psychological experiment with two factors: social anxiety and interaction partner. The experiment was conducted in a counseling setting where a participant played the role of a client and the robot or the confederate played the role of a counselor. First, we measured the participants’ social anxiety using the Social Avoidance and Distress Scale, after which, we measured their anxiety at two specific moments: “anticipatory anxiety” was measured after they knew that they would be interacting with a robot or a human confederate, and actual anxiety was measured after they actually interacted with the robot or confederate. Measurements were performed using the Profile of Mood States and the State–Trait Anxiety Inventory. The results indicated that participants with higher social anxiety tended to feel less “anticipatory anxiety” and tension when they knew that they would be interacting with robots compared with humans. Moreover, we found that interaction with a robot elicited less tension compared with interaction with a person regardless of the level of social anxiety.
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DOI 10.1007/s00146-019-00889-9
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