News

March 2021

Josi Driessen and Henk Aarts received a grant from Programma Handhaving and Gedrag to study the following project:

The obedient brain/ Het gehoorzame brein

Regulations and law enforcement contribute to the prevention of undesirable behavior and thus play an important role in society. At the same time, restricting behavior through regulations undermines personal autonomy; after all, people are no longer, or to a lesser extent, allowed to decide for themselves what to do. Recent findings suggested that restrictions in personal autonomy have an impact on how we experience our own actions and their consequences. People who experience their own behavior as voluntary are more likely to recognize that they are responsible for their behavior. In this research project, we will investigate whether obedience to rules and enforcement can have unintended negative side-effects on how we experience our own actions and how this affects our behavior. In this research we will focus on questions such as: Will people experience their behavior as less voluntary if they obey the rules? What does this do to their feelings of responsibility? How do we find the right balance between enforcement, obedience and the experience of agency?

February 2021

Embodied AI: Virtual Humans and Social Robots #1

Monday 22 February 14:30 - 16:00

> Teams meeting

This event is the first of a series of events we plan to organize related with Embodied Artificial Agents, organized by Zerrin Yumak, Maartje de Graaf and Ruud Hortensius. It concerns the development, evaluation and societal impact of social robots and virtual humans that are capable of engaging in face-to-face social interactions with people using verbal and non-verbal behaviours. The theme of the first event is: “Understanding the Utrecht University case, what are the different viewpoints, challenges and opportunities?”

> More information

November 2020


Ruud Hortensius received a public engagement seed fund from Utrecht University for the following project:

Opa, oma, robot en ik / Grandpa, grandma, robot and I
While generations apart, children and their grandparents share a future with robots. In this project, they will start the conversation on the integration of robots in their social milieu. First, they will play an interactive quiz to explore the scope and limits of robots for social cognition. Next, they will develop sci-fi scenarios using a real robot to sketch future applications. Focussing on real interactions and the conversation with, not about, children and grandparents, this project will give this team the power to shape future research and their social lives with robots.

September 2020

  • NEW: “Postdoc position in the project “Empowering Human Intentions through Artificial Intelligence” at Utrecht University.
    Application deadline: 15 October 2020
    > More  information
  • Chao Zhang and Henk Aarts received a grant from the UU focus area Human-Centered AI! Interesting work ahead with Shihan Wang and Mehdi Dastani on human autonomy and autonomous AI.
  • The website of our multidisciplinary research and education program on human autonomy perspective of artificial intelligence has been launched: https://human-ai.nl/
Human-AI