Do Robot Performance and Behavioral Style affect Human Trust? A Multi-Method Approach

Rik van den Brule, Ron Dotsch, Gijsbert Bijlstra, D.H.J. Wigboldus, Pim Haselager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


An important aspect of a robot’s social behavior is to convey the right amount of trustworthiness. Task performance has shown to be an important source for trustworthiness judgments. Here, we argue that factors such as a robot’s behavioral style can play an important role as well. Our approach to studying the effects of a robot’s performance and behavioral style on human trust involves experiments with simulated robots in video human–robot interaction (VHRI) and immersive virtual environments (IVE). Although VHRI and IVE settings cannot substitute for the genuine interaction with a real robot, they can provide useful complementary approaches to experimental research in social human robot interaction. VHRI enables rapid prototyping of robot behaviors. Simulating human–robot interaction in IVEs can be a useful tool for measuring human responses to robots and help avoid the many constraints caused by real-world hardware. However, there are also difficulties with the generalization of results from one setting (e.g., VHRI) to another (e.g. IVE or the real world), which we discuss. In this paper, we use animated robot avatars in VHRI to rapidly identify robot behavioral styles that affect human trust assessment of the robot. In a subsequent study, we use an IVE to measure behavioral interaction between humans and an animated robot avatar equipped with behaviors from the VHRI experiment. Our findings reconfirm that a robot’s task performance influences its trustworthiness, but the effect of the behavioral style identified in the VHRI study did not influence the robot’s trustworthiness in the IVE study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-531
JournalInternational Journal of Social Robotics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Social robotics
  • Trust
  • Video stimuli
  • Immersive virtual environments


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