PhD Studentship - Attitudes Toward Robots

University of Sheffield

Fully Funded PhD Scholarship in Psychology at the University of Sheffield

This is one of many projects in competition for the current funding opportunities available within the Department of Psychology

Project title: Attitudes toward robots

Primary supervisor: Dr T Webb

Co-supervisor: Prof T Prescott

Project description: Rapid advancements in technology mean that it is now possible to develop safe and human-friendly robots to assist people in their day-to-day lives. However, a recent survey by Sciencewise (2013) suggests that 61% of people believed that robots should not be allowed to care for children, elderly, and the disabled, believing instead that the primary areas for robotics should be the military and manufacturing. These views are, unfortunately, at odds with the difficulty of providing adequate care for the increasing number of elderly and disabled people. Indeed, by 2060, 30 per cent of the population of Europe will be 65 years of age or over compared to 17 per cent in 2010 (Eurostat, 2010).

The proposed project will deconstruct peoples’ attitudes toward robots by employing a mix of self-report and implicit measures of attitude (e.g., the Implicit Association Test, Greenwald et al., 1995) and by separating cognitive (thoughts) from affective (feelings) components of attitude (see, e.g., Crites et al., 1994). We will also examine how individual differences (e.g., age, gender, culture, familiarity with robots) and features of the robot in question (e.g., appearance, behaviour) influence respondents’ attitudes. Finally, the proposed project will examine the effect of imagined contact (Crisp & Turner, 2009) on attitudes towards robots.

Further reading: Prescott, T. J., et al. (2012, May). Robot Companions For Citizens: Roadmapping the potential for future robots in empowering older people. In: Bridging Research in Ageing and ICT Development Conference, Prague, Czech Republic.

Crisp, R. J., & Turner, R. N. (2009). Can imagined interactions produce positive perceptions?: Reducing prejudice through simulated social contact. American Psychologist, 64, 231-240.

Start date: 1 October 2018

Requirements: Applicants must have a minimum of a first class or high upper second-class undergraduate honours degree and a distinction or high merit at Masters level in psychology or a related discipline.

Funding: Tuition fees £4,194 per year Living Expenses £14,500.00

Science Graduate School

As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you'll be part of the Science Graduate School. You'll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You'll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience the breadth of technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit to learn more.

For further details and the application process please visit:

Closing date for applications is 5pm Wednesday 24 January 2018

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:



Northern England