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Long hair and curved lips condemn 'female' robots to housework and childcare

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Robots with long hair and curved lips tend to be given traditionally "feminine" tasks, according to a paper published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.


Giving a robot long hair and curved lips is enough to make people assign it traditionally feminine tasks, according to a paper by German researchers Friederike Eyssel and Frank Hegel. Published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, their research involved showing a group of 60 students images of stereotypically female and male robots and asking them to rate their suitability for certain duties, including guarding a house, caring for children, and preparing meals. Participants responded as expected, assigning the more assertive and dominant roles to the short-haired male robot while reserving communal and family-oriented tasks for its female counterpart. As Eyssel and Hegel point out, the results raise an interesting dilemma: should designers challenge traditional gender stereotypes by creating non-stereotypical robots, or is it better to minimize confusion by staying within our accustomed boundaries?