Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology

Committee Member

Dr. Richard Pak, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Kelly Caine

Committee Member

Dr. Patrick Rosopa


The purpose of the current study was to examine the extent to which the appearance, task, and reliability of a robot is susceptible to stereotypic thinking. Stereotypes can influence the types of causal attributions that people make about the performance of others. Just as causal attributions may affect an individual’s perception of other people, it may similarly affect perceptions of technology. Stereotypes can also influence perceived capabilities of others. That is, in situations where stereotypes are activated, an individual’s perceived capabilities are typically diminished. The tendency to adjust perceptions of capabilities of others may translate into levels of trust placed in the individual’s abilities. A cross-sectional factorial survey using video vignettes was used to assess young adults’ and older adults’ attitudes toward a robot’s behavior and appearance. Trust and capability ratings of the robot were affected by participant age, reliability, and domain. Patterns of causal reasoning within the human-robot interaction (HRI) context differed from causal reasoning patterns found in human-human interaction, suggesting a major caveat in applying human theories of social cognition to technology.



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