Guy Laban

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow & PhD Candidate in Neuroscience and Psychology

About Me

My research examines how people disclose their emotions and needs to social robots, and how these, in turn, can reduce stress and burden. This project is aimed at developing personalized solutions, interventions, and recommendations to support and promote care recipients' and caregivers’ well-being using social robots.

I am pursuing my PhD under the supervision of Prof. Emily S. Cross (University of Glasgow), Prof. Val Morrison (University of Bangor), and co-supervision of Prof. Andrea Gaggioli (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore) at the Social Robots and Social Brain in Action labs at the institute of Neuroscience and Psychology of the University of Glasgow. I am an ESR member of ENTWINE, the European Training Network on Informal Care, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovation Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Union. I am now a visiting scholar at Dr Yaara Yeshurun's Social & Cognitive Neuroscience (in the wild) Lab at Tel Aviv University, Israel.

I am originally from sunny Tel Aviv, Israel, where I completed my bachelor studies in Communication Science at the Interdisciplinary Centre Herzliya (IDC), specializing in interactive communications. I was always interested in fictional characters, including comics and anime figures. Following the idea that fictional characters can engage with humans through entertainment, media and stories I decided to study artificial agents’ social relationships with humans in everyday settings. During my studies I was a member of IDC’s media innovation lab (miLAB), developing robotic prototypes and mobile applications to study their influence on human behaviours.

Eager to continue exploring, I conducted my Research Master’s studies at the University of Amsterdam. Under the supervision of Dr Theo Araujo my research was mainly focused on topics such as human-agent cooperation, personalized interactions, and the role of discourse in agents’ embodied cognition. During my time at the University of Amsterdam I also worked as a junior lecturer. I was teaching courses and workshops in research methods, statistics, data analysis and computational methods for both undergraduate (BSc) and graduate (MSc) students.

On my free time I enjoy spending time in the mountains hiking, snowboarding, and photography. See my gallery at my photography website - guyloveslife.com!

Publications

Laban, G. (2021). Perceptions of Anthropomorphism in a Chatbot Dialogue: The Role of Animacy and Intelligence. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Human-Agent Interaction, 305–310, Virtual Event, Japan. ACM, New York, NY, USA. doi: https://doi.org/10.1145/3472307.3484686

Følstad, A., Araujo, T., Law, E. L.-C., Brandtzaeg, P. B., Papadopoulos, S., Reis, L., Baez, M., Laban, G., McAllister, P., Ischen, C., Wald, R., Catania, F., Meyer von Wolff, R., Hobert, S., & Luger, E. (2021). Future directions for chatbot research: an interdisciplinary research agenda. Computing 2021, 1–28. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/S00607-021-01016-7

Laban, G., George, J., Morrison, V. & Cross, E. S. (2021). Tell me more! Assessing interactions with social robots from speech. Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics, 12(1), 136-159. doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/pjbr-2021-0011

Henschel, A., Laban, G., & Cross, E. S. (2021). What Makes a Robot Social? A Review of Social Robots from Fiction to a Home or Hospital Near You. Current Robotics Reports. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s43154-020-00035-0

Laban, G., & Araujo, TB. (2020). The Effect of Personalization Techniques in Users’ Perceptions of Conversational Recommender Systems. In IVA ’20: Proceedings of the 20th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA ’20), October 19–23, 2020, Virtual Event, Scotland UK. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 3 pages. doi: https://doi.org/10.1145/3383652.3423890

Laban, G., Morrison, V., & Cross, E. S. (2020). Let’s Talk About It! Subjective and Objective Disclosures to Social Robots. In Companion of the 2020 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction. Association for Computing Machinery, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 328–330. doi: https://doi.org/10.1145/ 3371382.3378252

Laban, G., & Araujo TB. (2020) Working Together with Conversational Agents: The Relationship of Perceived Cooperation with Service Performance Evaluations. In: Følstad A. et al. (eds) Chatbot Research and Design. CONVERSATIONS 2019. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 11970. Springer, Cham. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-39540-7_15

Laban, G. (2019). Don’t Take it Personally: resistance to Individually Targeted Recommendations with Anthropomorphic Recommender System (Master's thesis). University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Retrieved from: https://scripties.uba.uva.nl/search?id=694251

PrePrints

Laban, G., Ben-Zion, Z., & Cross, E. S. (2021, August 4). Social Robots for Supporting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Diagnosis and Treatment. doi: 10.31234/osf.io/8vd4x

Laban, G., Kappas, A., Morrison, V., & Cross, E. S. (2021, July 8). Protocol for a Mediated Long-Term Experiment with a Social Robot. doi: 10.31234/osf.io/4z3aw

Polakow, T., Laban, G., Teodorescu, A., Busemeyer, J. R., & Gordon, G. (2021, May 11). Interactions with fallacious robots. doi: 10.31234/osf.io/5mpxy

Henschel, A., Laban, G., & Cross, E. S. (2020, November 25). What Makes a Robot Social? A Review of Social Robots from Fiction to a Home or Hospital Near You. doi: 10.31234/osf.io/3qjdm

Laban, G., & Araujo, T. (2020, July 14). Don’t Take it Personally: Resistance to Individually Targeted Recommendations with Anthropomorphic Recommender Systems. doi: 10.31234/osf.io/w4mkv

Laban, G., George, J., Morrison, V., & Cross, E. S. (2020, May 6). Tell Me More! Assessing Interactions with Social Robots From Speech. doi: 10.31234/osf.io/jkht2

Laban, G., Zeidler, C., & Brussee, E. (2020, May 12). Binge-watching (Netflix) product placement: A content analysis on different product placements in Netflix originals vs. non-Netflix originals, and drama vs. comedy shows. doi: 10.33767/osf.io/hxjgf

Peer Review

I peer review regularly for the following journals:

I peer reviewed in the past for following conferences and workshops:

  • “CONVERSATIONS” 2020 & 2021 - an International Workshop on Chatbot Research (Workshop program committee member).

  • ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI 2020, HRI 2022).

  • IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (ROMAN 2021)

  • ICSR - The International Conference of Social Robotics (ICSR 2021)

  • ACM Creativity & Cognition (2021 & 2022)

  • The Annual International Communication Association Conference 2020, 2021 (Reviewing for the "Human-Machine Communication Interest Group"; Top reviewer for the "Human-Machine Communication Interest Group" at 2021).


Conference talks

Laban, G., Kappas, A., Morrison, V., and Cross, E. S. (2021, August). Social Robots for Long-Term Speech-Based Health Interventions. Paper presented at 2021 Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society (EHPS). Virtual Conference.

Laban, G., Kappas, A., Morrison, V., and Cross, E. S. (2021, June). Protocol for a Mediated Long-Term Experiment with a Social Robot. Poster presented at 5th Virtual Social Interactions Conference (VSI). Glasgow, United Kingdom. Virtual Conference.

Laban, G. (2021, May). Perceptions of Humanness in a Chatbot Dialogue: Animacy and Intelligence as Mediators of Anthropomorphism. Paper was accepted for presentation at the International Communication Association Conference 2021 (ICA21), Virtual Conference.

Laban, G., Kappas, A., Morrison, V., and Cross, E. S. (2021, April). Affect in Prolonged Interactions with Social Robots. Paper presented at 2021 Society of Affective Science Annual Conference (SAS). Virtual Conference. https://youtu.be/bxQd-zMJrNc

Laban, G., & Araujo, TB. (2020, October). The Effect of Personalization Techniques in Users’ Perceptions of Conversational Recommender Systems. Extended abstract presented in the 20th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA ’20). Glasgow, United Kingdom. Virtual Conference.

Laban, G., George, J., Morrison, V., and Cross, E. S. (2020, June). Let’s Talk About It! Social Robots for Eliciting Disclosures for Emotional and Psychological Health. Paper was accepted for Supporting Health by Technology 2020 and will be presented at Supporting Health by Technology 2021, Enschede, Netherlands.

Laban, G. & Araujo, TB. (2020, May). Don’t take it personally: resistance to personalization procedures with anthropomorphic recommender systems. Paper presented at the International Communication Association Conference 2020 (ICA20), Gold Coast, Australia.

Laban, G., Morrison, V., & Cross, E. S. (2020, March). Let’s Talk About It! Subjective and Objective Disclosures to Social Robots. In the 2020 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction. Association for Computing Machinery, Cambridge, United Kingdom. https://youtu.be/cX1ScKQMxLU.

Laban, G., Morrison, V., and Cross, E. S. (2020, February). Let’s Talk About It! Perceived and Observed Disclosures to Social Robots. Paper presented at Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap 2020, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Laban. G., Morrison. V., and Cross. E. S. (2019, November). Let’s Talk About It! Perceived and Observed Disclosures to Social Robots. Paper presented at Quality of Interaction with Assistive Social Robots (QIASR) Workshop 2020, International Conference of Social Robots (ICSR), Madrid, Spain.

Laban, G. (2019, July). What Makes it Human? Users’ perceptions of agents’ animacy and intelligence. Poster presented at the International Conference on Computational Social Science (IC2S2) 2019, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Laban, G. (2019, June). Textual Input Value of Customer Reviews: Text-Analysis Approach. Paper presented at Quantitative Text Analysis Dublin (QTA-DUB) Workshop, Dublin, Ireland.

Laban, G. & Araujo, TB. (2019, February). Don’t take it personally: resistance to personalization procedures with anthropomorphic recommender systems. Poster presented at Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap 2019, Nijmegen, Netherlands.

Laban, G., Zeidler, C., & Brussee, E. (2018, November). Binge-watching (Netflix) product placements:A content analysis of product placements in Netflix originals vs. non-Netflix originals, and drama vs.comedy shows. Paper presented at the 7th European Communication Conference (ECC), Lugano, Switzerland.

Laban, G. (2018, October). The role of customer reviews in online marketplace satisfaction. Paper presented at Workshop on Digital Methods: Researching Digital Media Environments, Lugano, Switzerland.

Laban, G. & Araujo, TB. (2018, May). Working as a team: The influence of cooperation with a chatbot on customer service perceptions. Paper presented at the Communicating with Machines: Theory and Practice, Prague, Czech Republic.

Laban, G. & Araujo, TB. (2018, February). Working as a team: The influence of cooperation with a chatbot on customer service perceptions. Paper presented at Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap 2018, Ghent, Belgium.

Laban, G., Zeidler, C., & Brussee, E. (2018, February). Binge-watching (Netflix) product placements: A content analysis of product placements in Netflix originals vs. non-Netflix originals, and drama vs. comedy shows. Paper presented at Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap 2018, Ghent, Belgium.

Invited talks

  • "A Future for Social Robotics in Caring Contexts?" - October 2021, Invited talk with Professor Emily S. Cross for the European Training Network on Informal Care (ENTWINE) annual meeting, Groningen, Netherlands.

  • "Socially Assistive Robots How Robots can Help us Treating and Diagnosing Health-Related Symptoms" - September 2021, Invited talk for the Psychology of Emerging Technology class of Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

  • "Establishing Long-Term Relationships with Conversational Agents: Lessons From Prolonged Interactions with Social Robots" - September 2021, Invited talk for the Conversational Agent as Trustworthy Autonomous System (Trust-CA) seminar at Schloss Dagsthul Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik, Warden, Germany.

  • "Social Robots for Treating, Preventing and Diagnosing Mental Health Symptoms" - June 2021, Invited talk for Chronic Pathologies course for clinical psychology graduate students at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.

  • "Social Robots: Communicating Emotion and Needs" - June 2021, Invited talk for the Cognition Emotion Interaction Laboratory, Haifa University, Haifa, Israel.

  • "Social Robots: Communicating Emotion and Needs" - June 2021, Invited talk for the Social and Cognitive Neuroscience (in the wild) Lab, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

  • "Social Robots: From Science Fiction to Home or Hospital Near You" - January 2021, Invited talk for Sagol Brain Institute, Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging, Sourasky Medical Center, and Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel-Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

  • “Tell me More! Assessing interactions with social robots from speech” – November 2020, Invited talk for the Australasian Social Robotics Journal Club. University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia; Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia; University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.

  • "Human. Robot. Interaction?" - May 2020, Invited talk for the Psycho-Cardiology Lab at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.

Science Communication and Public Engagement

Teaching

▪ Methods of Communication Research and Statistics, University of Amsterdam - I was teaching undergraduate (BSc) students theory and practice of quantitative methods of scientific research, statistics, and data analysis.

▪ Research Workshop: Survey, University of Amsterdam - I was teaching undergraduate (BSc) students theory, methods and techniques for operationalizing concepts and developing a survey.

▪ Digital Analytics, University of Amsterdam - Assisting graduate (MSc) students with acquiring analytical skills, primarily using Python, and applying analytical methods to digital data for academic and business-oriented research. The topics of the course include (supervised/unsupervised) machine learning, automated content analysis, data visualization, and etc.

Workshops, Seminars, Tutorials, and Courses

  • Impact of Trauma on Mental Health. (2020, July to September), University of Glasgow, Online.

  • The repliCATS project research replication workshop (May 2020), University of Melbourne, Online.

  • TrustRobots Summer School (2019, September), TU Wien, Vienna, Austria.

  • Structural topic models for enriching quantitative text analysis (2019, July), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

  • Introduction to Network Science (2019, July), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

  • International Conference on Computational Social Science (IC2S2) School for Phd students and early-stage researchers (2019, July), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

  • MiRO Developer Workshop (2019, June), University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom.

  • Quantitative Text Analysis Dublin (QTA-DUB) Workshop (2019, June), University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.

  • Workshop on Digital Methods: Researching Digital Media Environments (2018, October), Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland.

  • Economics, Growth, and Prosperity (2016, April), Friedberg Economics Institute, Jerusalem, Israel.

Honours, Awards, and Grants

  • The repliCATS project travel grant (May, 2020).

  • The European Training Network on Informal Care - a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovation Training Network (ITN).

  • "Cum Laude" distinction, Sammy Ofer School of Communications, IDC Herzliya.

  • "Dean's List" Award for Scholastic Distinction in the academic year of 2015-2016, Sammy Ofer School of Communications, IDC Herzliya.