Multiple Communication Roles in Human–Robot Interactions in Public Space

  • Leopoldina FortunatiEmail author
  • Filippo Cavallo
  • Mauro Sarrica


This study looks at robots as media and aims to explore the multiple communication roles that they can play in public space. We have analyzed three scenarios: European Researchers’ Night in Pisa; the inauguration of the University of Udine’s 39th academic year; and the official video of the inauguration in Udine. These three scenarios represent three types of media interactions. The first is a human–robot interaction based on a one-to-one or circular communication model; the second is a robot–human interaction based on a one-to-many communication model in-presence; and the third is a robot–human interaction, based on the classical one-to-many communication model mediated through a television screen. Results show that public patterns of behavior toward the robot tend to replicate the ritualization of encounters between humans in the one-to-one model, and audience rituals in public events toward human characters in the one-to-many model. Second, greater proximity and familiarity with the robot increases the respondents’ positive evaluations of all the aspects of the interactions. These results are in line with results coming from research on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) use.


Human–robot communication Robot–humans communication Robots as public figures Public interaction with social robots Robots in public space Robots’ multiple communication roles 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and PhysicsUniversity of UdineUdineItaly
  2. 2.The BioRobotics InstituteScuola Superiore Sant’AnnaPontedera, PisaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Communication and Social Research, SapienzaUniversity of RomeRomeItaly

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