People share their emotional experiences with one another. This is called social sharing of emotions (SSE). SSE can affect one's own positive and negative emotions. As robots become increasingly capable of engaging in conversations with people, and because non-verbal expressions of robots have been found to affect human emotions, robots have potential as partners for SSE. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of SSE with robots on the affective states of users. We investigated the emotional responses that occurred when subjects shared their emotional experiences with a robot. We also examined the relationship between nonverbal robot behavior and corresponding user emotions. In the experiment, subjects watched a video and then shared their emotional experiences about the content of the video with a humanoid robot. Factors were the valence of the emotional experience and the behavior of the humanoid. Subjects were asked to evaluate their emotional state before and after SSE, and we measured changes in their emotional state. The results showed that SSE with a robot evoked affective responses in subjects. In particular, SSE with a robot vs. without a robot resulted in an increase in positive affect. Additionally, if a subject perceived the robot to understand the subject's emotions, non-verbal robot expression had a more positive effect on the subject's affect when sharing positive experiences.These results may contribute to design guidelines for social robots that listen to people talk.
The 12th International Conference on Social Robotics Best Paper Runner-up Award