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Workshop: Workshop on Human and Machine Decisions

Leveraging Information about Background Music in Human-Robot Interaction

Elad Liebman · Peter Stone


Past research has clearly established that music can affect mood and that mood affects emotional and cognitive processing, and thus decision-making. It follows that if a robot interacting with a person needs to predict the person's behavior, knowledge of the music the person is listening to when acting is a potentially relevant feature. To date, however, there has not been any concrete evidence that an autonomous agent can improve its human-interactive decision-making by taking into account what the person is listening to. This research fills this gap by reporting the results of an experiment in which human participants were required to complete a task in the presence of an autonomous agent while listening to background music. Specifically, the participants drove a simulated car through an intersection while listening to music. The intersection was not empty, as another simulated vehicle, controlled autonomously, was also crossing the intersection in a different direction. Our results clearly indicate that such background information can be effectively incorporated in an agent's world representation in order to better predict people's behavior. We subsequently analyze how knowledge of music impacted both participant behavior and the resulting learned policy.

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