A1 Journal article (refereed)
Motions with Emotions? : A Phenomenological Approach to Understanding the Simulated Aliveness of a Robot Body (2019)

Parviainen, J., Van Aerschot, L., Särkikoski, T., Pekkarinen, S., Melkas, H., & Hennala, L. (2019). Motions with Emotions? : A Phenomenological Approach to Understanding the Simulated Aliveness of a Robot Body. Techne: Research in Philosophy and Technology, 23(3), 318-341. https://doi.org/10.5840/techne20191126106

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Parviainen, Jaana; Van Aerschot, Lina; Särkikoski, Tuomo; Pekkarinen, Satu; Melkas, Helinä; Hennala, Lea

Journal or series: Techne: Research in Philosophy and Technology

eISSN: 1091-8264

Publication year: 2019

Volume: 23

Issue number: 3

Pages range: 318-341

Publisher: Society for Philosophy and Technology

Publication country: Netherlands

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5840/techne20191126106

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/67286


This article examines how the interactive capabilities of companion robots, particularly their materiality and animate movements, appeal to human users and generate an image of aliveness. Building on Husserl’s phenomenological notion of a ‘double body’ and theories of emotions as affective responses, we develop a new understanding of the robots’ simulated aliveness. Analyzing empirical findings of a field study on the use of the robot Zora in care homes for older people, we suggest that the aliveness of companion robots is the result of a combination of four aspects: 1) material ingredients, 2) morphology, 3) animate movements guided by software programs and human operators as in Wizard of Oz-settings and 4) anthropomorphising narratives created by their users to support the robot’s performance. We suggest that narratives on affective states, such as, sleepiness or becoming frightened attached to the robot trigger users’ empathic feelings, caring and tenderness toward the robot.

Keywords: robots; phenomenology; morphology (biology); emotions

Free keywords: companion robots; simulated aliveness; emotions

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2021-22-07 at 09:25