People apply gender stereotyping to robots, according to research published in Germany.
In the Journal of Applied Social Psychology (and as reported here), psychologists report on an experiment in which students looked at images of two different robots and considered their potential uses.
They looked at the heads of the two human-like machines. The two were identical except that the ‘feminine’ one had longer hair and a slight curvature of the lips, and the ‘masculine’ one had shorter hair and straight lips.
Participants had a list of traits and household duties and were asked to assign them to the robots. They were more likely to view the short-haired robot in a ‘masculine’ way, and suggest it was more suitable for action tasks as ‘repairing technical devices’ and ‘guarding a house.’
They suggested the long-haired robot as more appropriate for such stereotypically feminine tasks such as household chores and caring for children and the elderly.