Of robots and robotkind: Extending intergroup contact theory to social machines

Brad A. Haggadone, Jaime Banks, Kevin Koban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study seeks to advance how intergroup dynamics can help us better understand the relations between humans and robots. Intergroup contact theory states that negative feelings toward an outgroup can be reduced through controlled intergroup contact. This study tests this theory by having study participants interact with either a human (member of the ingroup) or large humanoid robot (member of an outgroup) and measuring changes in social distance before and after the interaction. The findings suggest that robotkind is a distinct social group separate from humankind and as predicted by intergroup contact theory, exposure to a specific robot can override held prejudices against robots as a social group.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunication Research Reports
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Intergroup contact theory
  • human–machine communication
  • ontological categorization
  • social distance

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