Politeness in Human–Robot Interaction: A Multi-Experiment Study with Non-Humanoid Robots

Shikhar Kumar, Eliran Itzhak, Yael Edan, Galit Nimrod, Vardit Sarne-Fleischmann, Noam Tractinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We studied politeness in human–robot interaction based on Lakoff’s politeness theory. In a series of eight studies, we manipulated three different levels of politeness of non-humanoid robots and evaluated their effects. A table-setting task was developed for two different types of robots (a robotic manipulator and a mobile robot). The studies included two different populations (old and young adults) and were conducted in two conditions (video and live). Results revealed that polite robot behavior positively affected users' perceptions of the interaction with the robots and that participants were able to differentiate between the designed politeness levels. Participants reported higher levels of enjoyment, satisfaction, and trust when they interacted with the politest behavior of the robot. A smaller number of young adults trusted the politest behavior of the robot compared to old adults. Enjoyment and trust of the interaction with the robot were higher when study participants were subjected to the live condition compared to video and participants were more satisfied when they interacted with a mobile robot compared to a manipulator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1805-1820
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Social Robotics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


This research was supported by the EU funded Innovative Training Network (ITN) in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie People Programme (Horizon2020): SOCRATES (Social Cognitive Robotics in a European Society training research network), grant agreement number 721619. Partial support was provided by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev through the Agricultural, Biological and Cognitive Robotics Initiative, the Marcus Endowment Fund, and the W. Gunther Plaut Chair in Manufacturing Engineering.

FundersFunder number
European Society training research network721619
Marcus Endowment Fund
Marie Skłodowska-Curie People Programme
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme
European Commission
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


    • Assistive robot
    • Human Robot interaction
    • Older adults
    • Politeness
    • Social assistive robot


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