PhD Oral Exam - Simon Dube, Psychology
Toward Erobotics: An Investigation of the Relationships Between Stigma, Personality, Sexual Arousal, and Willingness to Engage Erotically with Robots
This event is free
School of Graduate Studies
When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
The rise of erobots (er s + bots) artificial erotic agents, such as sex robots offers new opportunities for intimate experiences with machines. Their advent has also polarized academic and public debates: some denounce their risks, while others defend their benefits. Yet, the scientific study of human machine erotic interaction and co-evolution remains limited: it lacks comprehensive theoretical models, and its empirical literature is scarce and fragmented. There is a need for a new, unified transdisciplinary field of research focusing on such phenomena, and guiding the development of beneficial technologies. We call this field erobotics. As a theoretical contribution to this new discipline, Chapter 2 defines erobotics and its related concepts, proposes a model of human-erobot interaction and co-evolution, and suggests a path to design beneficial erotic machines. As an empirical contribution to erobotics, this thesis examines some of the sociocultural, individual, and situational factors highlighted by this model. Specifically, it investigates the relationships between perceived stigma, personality traits, sexual arousal, and people's willingness to engage erotically with robots. Chapter 3 shows that stigma related to erotic technology exists and increases as a function of products' human-likeness. Chapter 4 shows that the willingness to engage with and perceived appropriateness of using sex robots more closely relate to erotophilia and sexual sensation seeking, rather than technophilia, non-sexual sensation seeking, and Big-Five traits. Chapter 5 shows that sexual arousal increases willingness to have sex with robots. In these three chapters, men were more interested in engaging erotically with robots than women. Together, these findings suggest that erotophilic sensation seekers especially, men may become the primary users of erobots, and that sexually aroused individuals may be more willing to engage erotically with such machines: potentially influencing their design and our relationship with them. Ultimately, this thesis founds erobotics and opens future directions for the study of human-machine erotic interaction and co-evolution.