EEG-Based Mu Rhythm Suppression to Measure the Effects of Appearance and Motion on Perceived Human Likeness of a Robot

Goh Matsuda, Kazuo Hiraki, Hiroshi Ishiguro


We performed two electroencephalogram (EEG) experiments to examine how humanoid robot appearance and motion affect human subjects’ perception of the robots. Mu rhythm suppression of EEG, which is considered to reflect mirror neuron system (MNS) activation, was regarded as a neurological indicator of perceived human likeness. Video clips depicting upper-body actions performed by three agents (human, android, and mechanical robot) were presented in experiment 1. In experiment 2, point-light motion (PLM) stimuli generated from experiment 1 stimuli were presented. The results of experiment 1 revealed that only the human and android actions evoked significant mu suppression. No PLM stimulus elicited significant mu suppression in experiment 2. These findings suggest that an overall human-like form is necessary to activate the MNS.


Humanoid robot, android, EEG, mirror neuron, mu suppression

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