The term affordance has been inconsistently applied both in robotics and communication. While the robotics perspective is mostly object-based, the communication science view is commonly user-based. In an attempt to bring the two perspectives together, this theoretical paper argues that social robots present new social communicative affordances emerging from a two-way relational process. I first explicate conceptual approaches of affordance in robotics and communication. Second, a model of enacted communicative affordance in the context of Human-Machine Communication (HMC) is presented. Third and last, I explain how a pivotal social robot characteristic-embodiment-plays a key role in the process of social communicative affordances in HMC, which may entail behavioral, emotional, and cognitive effects. The paper ends by presenting considerations for future affordance research in HMC.
- human-machine communication
- social robot