Trust me, I am Robot! Conceptualizing interpersonal trust in the interaction between human patients and medical technology

Angelina Stoyanova, Jonas Drefeld, Stoyan Tanev, Jacob Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaperResearchpeer-review


The aim of this paper is to discuss some of the issues regarding the emergence of trust within the context of the interaction between human patients and medical rehabilitation technology based on robot system solutions. The starting assumption of the analysis is that the articulation of the emerging trust relationship is a key component of the use value of the robotic system and of the value proposition of the robotic system producers. The study is based on a qualitative research approach combining the phenomenological research paradigm with a grounded theory building approach based on multiple case studies. The investigation so far suggests that it will be necessary to conceptualize three types of trust – interpersonal, social trust and trust in automation. This knowledge is incorporated in a descriptive model that could be used by technology and application designers/developers to further refine their product design. The paper will conclude with a more detailed conceptual analysis of interpersonal trust in human-technology interactions. The personalization of technological artifacts or assigning personality to active objects has been considered as natural to human beings (Gombrich, 1972). The analysis will use some of the insights of Byzantine philosophy (Kapriev, 2005) regarding the distinction between the terms hypostasis (unique actualization of an essence) and prosopon (persona or person) to suggest a more general notion of interpersonality that could provide some additional insights to our study.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventMatchpoints seminar - Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 22. May 201424. May 2014


ConferenceMatchpoints seminar


  • human-robot interaction
  • trust
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Medical technology
  • Byzantine philosophy


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