Stop Ignoring Me! On Fighting the Trivialization of Social Robots in Public Spaces

Sebastian Schneider, Yuyi Liu, Kanako Tomita, Takayuki Kanda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Service and social robot in public scenarios will face various tasks in future applications, such as guiding people or admonishing them to provide assistance or convey social norms. Robots in public spaces might also incorporate roles of authority figures who might admonish people (e.g., security or guard robots). However, recent investigations showed that people ignore the admonishment of robots. Thus, in this work, we are looking at the reasons why people might ignore robots based on the Cognitive Dissonance Theory (CDT). We present the results of two consecutive field observations where a robot admonishes participants (i.e., pedestrians in a shopping mall) and requests them to stop using a smartphone while walking, which is considered an unmoral behavior. In the first field observation, we approached 160 participants over four days and conducted semi-structured interviews with 19 of them. Approximately half of the people ignored the robot, and half of them followed the instructions. Our interview results show that people who ignore the robot indeed use trivialization as a cognitive dissonance reduction strategy to justify ignoring the robot. Based on our analysis of the results, we developed a counter-trivialization strategy that anticipates this dissonance reduction strategy. We admonished 167 participants in our second field observation over four days, and our results show that significantly fewer people ignore the instructions of the robot when the robot uses a counter-trivialization strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1–23
Number of pages23
JournalACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction
Issue number2
Early online date8 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • n/a OA procedure
  • social robots
  • cognitive dissonance theory
  • admonishment
  • trivialization


Dive into the research topics of 'Stop Ignoring Me! On Fighting the Trivialization of Social Robots in Public Spaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this