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Can Charismatic Robots Help Teams Be More Creative?

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humanoid robot holding a pointer in front of a blackboard, illustration

Robots have been shown to be able to influence team performance positively.

Credit: The Conversation

Scientists found that students given a task by a social robot with a voice programmed to be engaging and inspiring performed better and were more creative than students who received the task from an identical robot with a flat voice.

"We had a robot instruct teams of students in a creativity task. The robot either used a confident, passionate — i.e. charismatic — tone of voice or a normal, matter-of-fact tone of voice," said Professor Kerstin Fischer of the University of Southern Denmark, corresponding author of the study published in Frontiers in Communication. "We found that when the robot spoke in a charismatic speaking style, students' ideas were more original and more elaborate."

Fischer and her colleagues used a text-to-speech function engineered for characteristics associated with charismatic speaking. Two voices were developed, one charismatic and one less expressive.

The group that heard the charismatic voice rated the robot more positively. Their perception of their teamwork was more positive, and they produced more original and elaborate ideas. They rated their teamwork more highly. The group that heard the non-charismatic voice perceived themselves as more resilient and efficient, though they produced fewer ideas.

From Frontiers
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