I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Brown University Department of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences.
Before becoming an academic, I have worked for commercial organizations for six years while obtaining a Bachelor of Business Administration in Communication Management (2005) in the evening hours. Still in search for a suitable career path, I decided to become a full-time student and graduated from the University of Twente in 2011 with a Master of Science in Communication.
Envisioning a future in which the social abilities of robots can only increase, my research interest focuses on the social, emotional and cognitive responses from users to robots and the societal and ethical consequences of such responses.
Currently, I am working on the project ‘Human-Robot Relationships and the Good Life’ for which I received a grant from the University of Twente. The project aims to investigate whether and how the relationships some users are willing to establish with social robots can contribute to the psychological well-being of those users.
My research is motivated by my intrinsic drive to understanding human behavior and the underlying psychological and cognitive processes of these behaviors. Since computer technologies increasingly interact with us through complex and humanlike interfaces, the psychological aspects of our relationships with them comprise an ever more important role. Especially when such technologies present explicit cues of identity or social agency, such as social robots, people will treat these social technologies as social actors. These social robots provide increasingly sophisticated simulations of social entities and are designed explicitly to provoke social and emotional responses from their users. Regardless of the moral or ethical implications, these social robots will be entering our everyday lives as soon as their abilities are technically feasible for the application in real-world contexts.
What are the underlying psychological and cognitive processes of people’s social and emotional responses to robots?
To what extend do these processes during human-robot interactions align with or divert from the processes during human-human interactions?
What are relevant ethical considerations of these social and emotional responses to robots? And how should these considerations be addressed?
By answering these questions we will learn more about how people socially interact with robots, and whether and how this is actually similar to how people socially interact with other humans. Additionally, we will also gain more insight into people’s social, emotional and cognitive processes during social interactions with different social actors.
Graaf, M.M.A. de, & Ben Allouch, S. (2014). Evaluation of a socially assistive robot in eldercare (Workshop paper). International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Bielefeld, Germany.
Graaf, M.M.A. de (2014). Towards a new model for long-term acceptance of domestic social robots (HRI Pioneers Workshop). International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Bielefeld, Germany.
Graaf, M.M.A. de, & Ben Allouch, S. (2014). People’s implicit and explicit associations with and attitudes towards robots. Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap (24-hours of Communication Science), Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Graaf, M.M.A. de, & Ben Allouch, S. (2012). User acceptance, long-term use and relationship-building with social robots. Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap (24 Hours of Communication Science), Leuven, Belgium.
Graaf, M.M.A. de, & Ben Allouch, S. (2012), Harvey’s last appearance: Long-term use and acceptance of social robots. International Communication Association Annual Conference, Phoenix, AZ, USA.
Ben Allouch, S., Klamer, T., & Graaf, M.M.A. de (2011). Return of Harvey: Acceptance and use of social robots (Work-in-Progress paper). International Conference on Social Robotics, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.