Self-Categorization in the Workplace

Mentor: Dr. Geoffrey Leonardelli

Dr. Geoffrey Leonardelli

Project Description

Although Canada’s leaders may envision humans and robots collaborating for the sake of society, such a future is far from guaranteed. Robots, these machines that complete a complex series of tasks autonomously and increasingly under the guidance of artificial intelligence, stoke human fears of unpredictability and human replacement (Frick, 2014; The Economist, 2018). Such fears create the very grounds for a tribal mindset (i.e., “us versus them”; Tajfel & Turner, 1986; Turner, 1987) and the potential for intergroup conflict, creating a distinctive challenge for human-robot interaction. A tempting solution is to humanize robots, but I propose that these are the very conditions which lead to an ideology of robot subordination, that is, a set of beliefs that view robots as subordinated to humans. This 8-week program will seek to provide some initial method development and testing for this research program. Specifically, the study I’m anticipating us to work on will involve testing a potential positive implication of robot subordination, namely when is it we might delegate tasks to them. A recently published article (Akinola et al., 2018, Study 4) has reported an experimental paradigm intended to investigate task delegation in controlled laboratory settings, and I will be looking for support on how to translate this paradigm for online conduct, and to conduct some pilot testing. I hope to also have opportunities recruiting working adults for their involvement in this project or their general perceptions of human-robot interaction, in the workplace and outside of work.

Mentorship Statement

Researchers in my lab can be exposed to survey development, access to online populations, experimental methods, linguistic analysis, field methods, ANOVA, linear and logistic regression analysis, scale development, statistical moderation and mediation, open science practices, research ethics and more. Some exposure to theory. Training objectives entail exposure to a research area, basic skill development, and instilling interest to pursue graduate studies. There will be some training in participant ethics and treatment, and proper application of methodological procedures involving delegation. As time permits, there will also be application of procedures involving surveying working populations. In both years, under the oversight of the entire lab group, the assistants will be exposed to experimental methods, data integrity practices, and single-blind procedures to reduce exposure to and unintended confirmation of the test’s hypotheses, as well as participant recruiting and compensation procedures.

Project ID 556