Susanne Quadflieg, PhD

SQuadfliegBIO: Susanne Quadflieg is a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Bristol (England). She received her Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) before working at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands), the University of Louvain-La-Neuve (Belgium), and New York University Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). Her work focuses on the socio-cognitive strategies that people use when encountering humanoid robots. She is particularly fascinated by the question of how and when human-like minds get attributed to sociable robots. Her research uses traditional self-report measures in combination with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

TALK ABSTRACT: The Role of fMRI in Robotics Research

Robotics engineers generally expect that humans will be more comfortable around robots, the more human-like their appearance. Initial psychological research indicates, however, that increases in outer human-likeness can trigger enhanced discomfort around robots due to inviting anthropomorphic mind attributions. In this talk, both claims will be reconciled on the basis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. Specifically, it will be demonstrated that blood-oxygen-level-dependent contrast imaging can be used to observe brain responses towards humanoid robots in neural networks normally dedicated towards person perception and evaluation. By doing so, this talk will illustrate a) how neuroscientific insights can be drawn upon to advance our understanding of people’s attitudes towards robots and b) how neuroscientific methods can support the systematic evaluation of robotic design and functionality.