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Mechanisms and Consequences of Attributing Socialness to Artificial Agents

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "SOCIAL ROBOTS" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: G12 8QQ

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙809˙000 €
 EC max contribution 1˙809˙000 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-10-01   to  2021-09-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW UK (GLASGOW) coordinator 1˙623˙268.00
2    BANGOR UNIVERSITY UK (BANGOR) participant 185˙732.00


 Project objective

Understanding how we perceive and interact with others is a core challenge of social cognition research. This challenge is poised to intensify in importance as the ubiquity of artificial intelligence and the presence of humanoid robots in society grows. By innovatively combining psychology, neuroscience and robotics, the SOCIAL ROBOTS project helps prepare us for this future by (1) establishing a new approach for understanding how the human brain processes and responds to interactive robots; (2) delineating the factors influencing how representations of robots and humans are shared at brain and behavioural levels; and (3) exploring how these findings inform the now-rapid development of social robots. To achieve this, we first investigate how young adults perceive and interact with humans vs. robots, the role of physical features and training experience, and the extent to which brain regions mediating social interaction with humans also support robot interaction. Next, to test the role of experience-dependent plasticity on social cognition, we assess how brain and behavioural flexibility toward robots manifests among young children and older adults. Finally, we explore cultural influences on shared representations of humans and robots by extending the first project phase to Japan, the world’s most robotics-rich nation. The SOCIAL ROBOTS project tests a dominant hypothesis of social cognition and is expected to lead to a novel conception of the neurocognitive architecture supporting human-robot interaction. Neuroimaging and behavioural measures will offer detailed and nuanced insights into how brain mechanisms supporting social engagement with people are used when interacting with robots, and how different kinds of experience (e.g., training, lifespan, cultural) influence such engagement. The planned studies and those generated during the project will enable the SOCIAL ROBOTS team to become a world-leading group bridging social cognition, neuroscience and robotics.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Dace Apšvalka, Emily S. Cross, Richard Ramsey
Fluid intelligence and working memory support dissociable aspects of learning by physical but not observational practice
published pages: 170-183, ISSN: 0010-0277, DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2019.04.015
Cognition 190 2019-09-02
2018 Ruud Hortensius, Emily S. Cross
From automata to animate beings: the scope and limits of attributing socialness to artificial agents
published pages: , ISSN: 0077-8923, DOI: 10.1111/nyas.13727
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 2019-07-08
2018 Elin H. Williams, Emily S. Cross
Decreased reward value of biological motion among individuals with autistic traits
published pages: 1-9, ISSN: 0010-0277, DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2017.10.017
Cognition 171 2019-07-08
2016 Louise P. Kirsch, Cosimo Urgesi, Emily S. Cross
Shaping and reshaping the aesthetic brain: Emerging perspectives on the neurobiology of embodied aesthetics
published pages: 56-68, ISSN: 0149-7634, DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.12.005
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 62 2019-07-08
2016 Louise P. Kirsch, Arielle Snagg, Erin Heerey, Emily S. Cross
The Impact of Experience on Affective Responses during Action Observation
published pages: e0154681, ISSN: 1932-6203, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154681
PLOS ONE 11/5 2019-07-08
2018 Daniel Lakens, Federico G. Adolfi, Casper J. Albers, Farid Anvari, Matthew A. J. Apps, Shlomo E. Argamon, Thom Baguley, Raymond B. Becker, Stephen D. Benning, Daniel E. Bradford, Erin M. Buchanan, Aaron R. Caldwell, Ben Van Calster, Rickard Carlsson, Sau-Chin Chen, Bryan Chung, Lincoln J. Colling, Gary S. Collins, Zander Crook, Emily S. Cross, Sameera Daniels, Henrik Danielsson, Lisa DeBruine, Dan
Justify your alpha
published pages: 168-171, ISSN: 2397-3374, DOI: 10.1038/s41562-018-0311-x
Nature Human Behaviour 2/3 2019-07-08
2017 Tom Gardner, Aidas Aglinskas, Emily S. Cross
Using guitar learning to probe the Action Observation Network\'s response to visuomotor familiarity
published pages: 174-189, ISSN: 1053-8119, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.04.060
NeuroImage 156 2019-07-08
2018 Dace Apšvalka, Richard Ramsey, Emily S. Cross
Anodal tDCS over Primary Motor Cortex Provides No Advantage to Learning Motor Sequences via Observation
published pages: 1-14, ISSN: 2090-5904, DOI: 10.1155/2018/1237962
Neural Plasticity 2018 2019-07-08
2018 Louise P. Kirsch, Emily S. Cross
The influence of sensorimotor experience on the aesthetic evaluation of dance across the life span
published pages: 291-316, ISSN: , DOI: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2018.03.012
The influence of sensorimotor experience on the aesthetic evaluation of dance across the life span 237 2019-07-08
2018 Dilini K. Sumanapala, Jon Walbrin, Louise P. Kirsch, Emily S. Cross
Neurodevelopmental perspectives on dance learning: Insights from early adolescence and young adulthood
published pages: 243-277, ISSN: , DOI: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2018.03.010
Progress in Brain Research 2019-07-08
2017 Dilini K. Sumanapala, Laurel A. Fish, Alex L. Jones, Emily S. Cross
Have I grooved to this before? Discriminating practised and observed actions in a novel context
published pages: 42-49, ISSN: 0001-6918, DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2017.02.008
Acta Psychologica 175 2019-07-08
2017 Emily S. Cross, Antonia F. de C. Hamilton, Nichola Rice Cohen, Scott T. Grafton
Learning to tie the knot: The acquisition of functional object representations by physical and observational experience
published pages: e0185044, ISSN: 1932-6203, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185044
PLOS ONE 12/10 2019-07-08
2018 Louise P. Kirsch, Nadine Diersch, Dilini K. Sumanapala, Emily S. Cross
Dance Training Shapes Action Perception and Its Neural Implementation within the Young and Older Adult Brain
published pages: 1-20, ISSN: 2090-5904, DOI: 10.1155/2018/5459106
Neural Plasticity 2018 2019-05-09

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