Boyoung Kim and Ruchen Wen and Qin Zhu and Tom Williams and Elizabeth Phillips


IEEE International Symposium on Robot-Human Interactive Communication

Publication Year

The current work explored to what extent a robot could persuade people to participate in charitable giving by offering moral advice grounded in different ethical theories. In a laboratory, participants, who are students at a university, first performed a task to acquire lottery tickets and then received from a robot information about a charity event organized for students at their university. The robot also offered them moral advice of which the underlying framework was grounded in either deontological or Confucian role ethics to encourage donating their lottery tickets to the event. We found advice grounded in Confucian role ethics to be more effective in inducing donations than advice grounded in deontological ethics. We also found that the more strongly participants felt close to other students at their university, the less donations they would make after receiving advice grounded in deontological ethics. These findings suggest the benefits of framing moral messages of robots based upon theories of Confucian role ethics in promoting prosocial behavior. We discuss potential explanations for the negative relationship between participants' sense of closeness with other students and their donation behavior when the robot's advice focuses on theories of deontological ethics.