(S)he's Got the Look: Gender Stereotyping of Robots


  • The authors thank Benjamin Reichelt and Iris Franzke for their help in conducting the study.

Friederike Eyssel, University of Bielefeld, Department of Psychology, Center of Excellence in Cognitive Interaction Technology, P.O. Box 100131, 33501 Bielefeld, Germany. E-mail: friederike.eyssel@cit-ec.uni-bielefeld.de


Previous research on gender effects in robots has largely ignored the role of facial cues. We fill this gap in the literature by experimentally investigating the effects of facial gender cues on stereotypical trait and application ascriptions to robots. As predicted, the short-haired male robot was perceived as more agentic than was the long-haired female robot, whereas the female robot was perceived as more communal than was the male counterpart. Analogously, stereotypically male tasks were perceived more suitable for the male robot, relative to the female robot, and vice versa. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that gender stereotypes, which typically bias social perceptions of humans, are even applied to robots. Implications for design-related decisions are discussed.