Reproducing the Joint Simon Effect

The Joint Simon Effect (JSE) in human-robot interaction is a phenomenon that suggests humans work more effectively in joint tasks with humanlike robots than mechanomorphs, mentally representing the task from their robot partner’s point of view much as they would with an ordinary human partner. The JSE had been observed before in individual experiments. However, the significance and generalizability of these observations depend on being able to reproduce the JSE in different experimental settings in different populations.

To help evaluate the robustness of the JSE in human-robot interactions, CoAI JRC member Sven Wachsmuth collaborated with psychologist Robert Goldstone and informaticist Selma Sabanovic at Indiana University to construct an open experimental infrastructure for exact, laboratory-independent reproduction of robot behavior that researchers anywhere in the world can freely access and install, as well as detailed guidelines for reproducing a version of the original human-robot JSE experiment detailed here.

Two NAO robots sit facing each other at desk terminals

The work of Wachsmuth and colleagues is a valuable contribution to our understanding of human-robot interaction, which you can read more about here. More than that, however, it serves as a model of using the principles of open science to create robust, reproducible scientific results in CoAI research, to which the Virtual Research and Training Building is also firmly dedicated.