Anthropomorphism and Affective Perception: Dimensions, Measurements, and Interdependencies in Aerial Robotics

Viviane Herdel, Anastasia Kuzminykh, Yisrael Parmet, Jessica R. Cauchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Assigning lifelike qualities to robotic agents (Anthropomorphism) is associated with complex affective interpretations of their behavior. These anthropomorphized perceptions are traditionally elicited through robots&#x0027; designs. Yet, aerial robots (or drones) present a special case due to their &#x2013; traditionally &#x2013; non-anthropomorphic design, and prior research shows conflicting evidence on their perception as either person-like, animal-like, or machine-like. In this work, we explore how people perceive drones in a cross-dimensional space between these three dimensions by varying the affective state presented on the drone. To capture these perceptions, we developed a novel measurement instrument <italic>AnZoMa</italic>. We describe the design, use, and deployment of the instrument in an online study (N=98). The study results suggest that different drone emotions triggered people to attribute various characteristics to the drone (e.g., interaction metaphors, traits, and features) and variations in acceptability of drone affective states. These results demonstrate the interdependencies between affective perceptions and anthropomorphism of drones. We conclude by discussing the necessity to integrate cross-dimensional perception of anthropomorphism in human-drone interaction and affective computing. This work contributes a novel tool to measure the dimensions and gravity of anthropomorphism and insights into interdependencies between different affective states displayed on drones and their anthropomorphized perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Affective Computing
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2024


  • Affective issues in user interaction
  • Animals
  • Anthropomorphism
  • Autonomous aerial vehicles
  • Drones
  • Function in robotic systems
  • Gravity
  • Instruments
  • Nonverbal signals
  • Robots
  • Social agents/robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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