FFAB-The Form Function Attribution Bias in Human-Robot Interaction

Kerstin S. Haring*, Katsumi Watanabe, Mari Velonaki, Chad C. Tossell, Victor Finomore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


People seem to miscalibrate their expectations and interactions with a robot. When it comes to robot design, the anthropomorphism level of the robot form (appearance) has become an increasingly important variable to consider. It is argued here that people base their expectations and perceptions of a robot on its form and attribute functions which do not necessarily mirror the true functions of the robot. The term form function attribution bias (FFAB) refers to the cognitive bias which occurs when people are prone to perceptual errors, leading to a biased interpretation of a robot's functionality. We argue that rather than objectively perceiving the robot's functionalities, people take a cognitive shortcut using the information available to them through visual perception. FFAB intends to outline the implications the design of a robot has on the human predisposition to interact socially with robots. In this theoretical review, we examined the results of several studies suggesting an FFAB. We outline future directions of experimental paradigms and robot design implications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8400493
Pages (from-to)843-851
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec


  • Anthropomorphism
  • attribution bias
  • form function attribution bias (FFAB)
  • human-robot interaction
  • visual perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence


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