Moral Action Changes Mind Perception for Human and Artificial Moral Agents


Mind perception is studied for three different agents: a human, an artificial human, and a humanoid robot. The artificially created agents are presented as being undistinguishable from a human. Each agent is rated on 15 mental capacities. Three mind perception dimensions are identified - Experience, Agency, and Cognition. The artificial agents are rated higher on the Cognition dimensions than on the other two dimensions. The humanoid robot is rated lower than the human on the Experience dimension. These results show that people ascribe to artificial agents some mental capacities more than others. In a second experiment, the effect of agent’s moral action on mind perception is explored. It is found that when the artificial agents have undertaken a moral action, they are perceived to be similar to the human agent. More interestingly, the presentation of the moral action leads to a restructuring of the dimensions of mind perception.

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