Developing Robot Teammates that Enhance Social Dynamics and Performance in Human-Robot Teams

March 18, 2021
3:00-4:00 pm EST
Sococo Halligan 102, Zoom
Speaker: Sarah Sebo, University of Chicago
Host: Elaine Short


Collaborative teams of people are most successful when they have positive social dynamics, where team members trust one another, feel included, and feel comfortable to openly discuss mistakes and errors. As robots increasingly join collaborative teams of people in a variety of settings (e.g., manufacturing plants, surgical suites, corporate workplaces, homes), it is essential that we build robots that can perceive and positively influence these social dynamics for the benefit of the team. My work explores how social robots can enhance important social team dynamics in collaborative human-robot teams. It specifically investigates how robot behavior can positively shape trust, inclusion, and psychological safety, social dynamics that have been shown to have a significant positive influence on team performance. My work demonstrates that a robot’s behavior can influence not just how people interact with the robot, but how people in the group interact with each other.


Sarah Sebo is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Chicago and leads the UChicago Human-Robot Interaction Lab. Her research explores social dynamics in human-robot interactions, where a robot's social behaviors lead to positive outcomes for people. Dr. Sebo completed her Ph.D. at Yale University where she worked with Dr. Brian Scassellati in the Social Robotics Lab. Her dissertation work focused on developing robots that improve the performance of human-robot teams by shaping team dynamics to promote inclusion, trust, and cohesion.

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