Believable Robot Characters


  • Reid Simmons Carnegie Mellon University
  • Maxim Makatchev Carnegie Mellon University
  • Rachel Kirby Carnegie Mellon University
  • Min Kyung Lee Carnegie Mellon University
  • Imran Fanaswala Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar
  • Brett Browning Carnegie Mellon University
  • Jodi Forlizzi Carnegie Mellon University
  • Majd Sakr Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar



Believability of characters has been an objective in literature, theater, film, and animation. We argue that believable robot characters are important in human-robot interaction, as well. In particular, we contend that believable characters evoke users’ social responses that, for some tasks, lead to more natural interactions and are associated with improved task performance. In a dialogue-capable robot, a key to such believability is the integration of a consistent storyline, verbal and nonverbal behaviors, and sociocultural context. We describe our work in this area and present empirical results from three robot receptionist testbeds that operate "in the wild."




How to Cite

Simmons, R., Makatchev, M., Kirby, R., Lee, M. K., Fanaswala, I., Browning, B., Forlizzi, J., & Sakr, M. (2011). Believable Robot Characters. AI Magazine, 32(4), 39-52.