A Kind Apart: The Limited Application of Human Race and Sex Stereotypes to a Humanoid Social Robot

Jaime Banks, Kevin Koban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Increasingly humanlike social robots are praised and critiqued for implementing human social-group cues to facilitate adoption, but potentials for robot race and sex cues to provoke application of human stereotypes are yet unclear. This investigation explored discrete and intersectional stereotyping effects of robot race and sex cues in (1) live encounters and (2) mediated exposures. Participants (Study 1: N = 93; Study 2: N = 351) considered one of four humanoid social robots (2 × 2: black-/white-cued × male-/female-cued) and ascribed stereotype-indicative social roles, traits, and identifiers. Results indicated scant influence of visual/verbal cues on stereotyping, suggesting those cues do not prompt people to categorize robots as they do humans. Instead, consistently ascribing helpfulness, thinker, and servant attributes suggests stereotyping robots as robots rather than according to human categories—a pattern more pronounced when people were primed to think about human stereotypes. We infer that humanoid robots are seen as a distinct kind, apart from humans—so distinctly apart that exploratory analyses demonstrated that even self-similar robots are considered more different than are dissimilar humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1949-1961
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Social Robotics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Identification
  • Intersectionality
  • Priming
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Stereotyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Computer Science
  • Social Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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