Effect of Robot Performance on Human-Robot Trust in Time-Critical Situations

Paul Robinette, Ayanna M. Howard, Alan R. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Robots have the potential to save lives in high-risk situations, such as emergency evacuations. To realize this potential, we must understand how factors such as the robot's performance, the riskiness of the situation, and the evacuee's motivation influence his or her decision to follow a robot. In this paper, we developed a set of experiments that tasked individuals with navigating a virtual maze using different methods to simulate an evacuation. Participants chose whether or not to use the robot for guidance in each of two separate navigation rounds. The robot performed poorly in two of the three conditions. The participant's decision to use the robot and self-reported trust in the robot served as dependent measures. A 53% drop in self-reported trust was found when the robot performs poorly. Self-reports of trust were strongly correlated with the decision to use the robot for guidance (φ (90) = + 0.745). We conclude that a mistake made by a robot will cause a person to have a significantly lower level of trust in it in later interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7828078
Pages (from-to)425-436
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Signal Processing
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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