How does the brain react when it feels watched… by robots?

Have you ever felt watched? The feeling is slightly uncomfortable, or quite, depending on the context. However, researchers point out, in a new study, that this occurs even when the directed eyes are not human but… robotic.

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  • Basically, scientists created an experiment in which people played against a robot. If the robot looked at the human players during the session, this ended up affecting the behavior and strategy of the participants in the game, a change that could be perceived in the measures of its neural activity recorded by electroencephalogram.

    According to the researchers, if the robot looks at you during the moment when you need to make a decision about the next move, it will have more difficulty in making your decision. In addition, the brain will need to employ more difficult processes to try to ignore the robot’s gaze.

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    (Image: iLexx/Envato)503990

    The results of the experiment showed that the robot’s gaze did not influence the players’ choices, but caused its response time to increase slightly, with participants generally responding faster in-game when the robot looked away.

    According to the researchers, this change in player behavior matched to a change in neural activity called synchronous alpha activity, which is a pattern of brain waves previously associated with suppression of attention. The full study can be accessed here.

    Source: Science Alert

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