Double Trouble: The Effect of Eye Gaze on the Social Impression of Mobile Robotic Telepresence Operators

Edo De Wolf*, Jamy Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Eye gaze is used to convey crucial information during interactions with humans and robots. Modern video conferencing systems, an aspect of mobile robotic telepresence (MRP) systems, have limited eye gaze functionality due to the Mona Lisa effect. This paper compares the effects of eye gaze during brief interactions with MRP operators. In an online between-subjects study (N = 79), participants viewed a video of a hallway encounter between a passer-by and an MRP system; the operator either used or did not use mutual gaze. We used an observer ‘trick’ to study the effect cheaply. Results showed that participants’ social impressions of the MRP operator were higher when the operator used versus did not use mutual gaze, showing that eye gaze can lead to an improvement in social perception even in a seemingly insignificant encounter such as a hallway passing. We argue for the importance of social acknowledgment cues to improve impressions of telepresence operators and to make mingling smoother and social roles more balanced. We describe potential opportunities for technological innovation in MRP systems and propose research directions to extend this work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Robotics
Subtitle of host publication12th International Conference, ICSR 2020, Golden, CO, USA, November 14–18, 2020, Proceedings
Place of PublicationCham
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-62056-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-62055-4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2020
Event12th International Conference on Social Robotics, ICSR 2020 - Online Conference
Duration: 14 Nov 202018 Nov 2020
Conference number: 12

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science


Conference12th International Conference on Social Robotics, ICSR 2020
Abbreviated titleICSR 2020

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