Designing Personas for Expressive Robots: Personality in the New Breed of Moving, Speaking, and Colorful Social Home Robots

S Whittaker, Yvonne Rogers, E Petrovskaya, H Zhuang
in ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction, Journal article


© 2021 ACM. Imbuing robots with personality has been shown to be an effective design approach in HRI, promoting user trust and acceptance. We explore personality design in a non-anthropomorphic voice-assisted home robot. Our design approach developed three distinct robot personas: Butler, Buddy, and Sidekick, intended to differ in proactivity and emotional impact. Persona differences were signaled to users by a combination of humanoid (speech, intonation), and indirect cues (colors and movement). We use Big Five personality theory to evaluate perceived differences between personas in an exploratory Wizard of Oz study. Participants were largely able to recognize underlying personality traits expressed through these cue combinations in ways that were consistent with our design goals. The proactive Buddy persona was judged as more Extravert than the more passive Sidekick persona, and the Butler persona was perceived as more Conscientious and less Neurotic than either Buddy or Butler personas. Users also had clear preferences between different personas; they wanted robots that mimicked but accentuated their own personality. Results suggest that future designs might exploit abstract cues to signal personality traits.