The ability to understand and predict others’ behaviour is crucial in daily life. From driving a car on a busy street to playing a team game such as football, we constantly need to be able to anticipate what other people will do. When predicting and explaining behaviors of other humans, we often refer to their mental states, such as beliefs, desires and intentions. This is what philosophers call adopting the “intentional stance”. The question of interest is whether (and under which conditions) would we adopt the intentional stance towards robots. Would we attribute intentions to their behavior, if the behavior appears very human-like? It might be that once a robot imitates human-like behaviour at the level of subtle (and often implicit) social signals, humans might automatically perceive its behaviour as reflecting mental states. This will presumably also facilitate treating the robot as a social companion. Adopting the intentional stance towards robots might make the human-robot dyad more socially attuned, thereby making the interaction more natural and intuitive.
To learn more about Agnieszka Wykowska’s research visit her website