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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Humans Have a Tender Spot for Robots
23 April 2013 6:00 am
New research out of Germany suggests that humans look at robots as being more than just soulless pieces of hardware. In one study, nearly all the 40 (human) participants who watched a violent video of a robotic dinosaur being tortured reacted with distress. In the second study, which employed functional magnetic resonance imaging, participants were shown videos of both robots and humans being treated affectionately and then cruelly. Study subjects had virtually identical neural activation patterns in the limbic brain when robots were treated with affection as when the humans were, researchers will report in June at the annual conference of the International Communication Association in London. They also responded with similar levels of distress to the abuse videos, although they still showed greater reactions to the human mistreatment than the robot abuse. Ultimately, this type of research can teach scientists how to build robots that we can more fully identify with and even deeply trust with tasks such as preparing our food and teaching our children.
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