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Front. Robot. AI | doi: 10.3389/frobt.2021.657291

Brainstorming with a Social Robot Facilitator: Better than Human Facilitation Due to Reduced Evaluation Apprehension? Provisionally accepted The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon. Notify me

  • 1Department of Communication and Cognition, Tilburg University, Netherlands

Brainstorming is a creative technique used to support productivity and creativity during the idea generation phase of an innovation process. In professional practice, a facilitator structures, regulates, and motivates those behaviors of participants that help maintain productivity and creativity during a brainstorm. Emerging technologies, such as social robots, are being developed to support or even automate the facilitator’s role. However, little is known about whether and how brainstorming with a social robot influences productivity. To take a first look, a between-subjects experiment (N = 54) that explored 1) whether brainstorming with a Wizard-of-Oz operated robot facilitator, compared to with a human facilitator, influences productivity; and 2) whether any effects on productivity might be explained by the robot’s negative effects on social anxiety and evaluation apprehension. The results showed no evidence for an effect of brainstorming with a teleoperated robot facilitator, compared to brainstorming directly with a human facilitator, on productivity. Although the results did suggest that overall, social anxiety caused evaluation apprehension, and evaluation apprehension negatively affected productivity, there was no effect of brainstorming with a robot facilitator on this relationship. Herewith, the present study contributes to an emerging body of work on the efficacy and mechanisms of the facilitation of creative work by social robots.

Keywords: social robot, brainstorming, creativity, social anxiety, Evaluation apprehension

Received: 22 Jan 2021; Accepted: 14 May 2021.

Copyright: © 2021 Geerts, de Wit and de Rooij. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Alwin de Rooij, Department of Communication and Cognition, Tilburg University, Tilburg, 5000, Netherlands, alwinderooij@tilburguniversity.edu