Botsourcing and outsourcing: Robot, british, chinese, and german workers are for thinking-not feeling-jobs

Adam Waytz*, Michael I. Norton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Technological innovations have produced robots capable of jobs that, until recently, only humans could perform. The present research explores the psychology of "botsourcing"-the replacement of human jobs by robots-while examining how understanding botsourcing can inform the psychology of outsourcing- the replacement of jobs in one country by humans from other countries. We test four related hypotheses across six experiments: (1) Given people's lay theories about the capacities for cognition and emotion for robots and humans, workers will express more discomfort with botsourcing when they consider losing jobs that require emotion versus cognition; (2) people will express more comfort with botsourcing when jobs are framed as requiring cognition versus emotion; (3) people will express more comfort with botsourcing for jobs that do require emotion if robots appear to convey more emotion; and (4) people prefer to outsource cognition- versus emotion-oriented jobs to other humans who are perceived as more versus less robotic. These results have theoretical implications for understanding social cognition about both humans and nonhumans and practical implications for the increasingly botsourced and outsourced economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-444
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014



  • Anthropomorphism
  • Emotion
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Mind perception
  • Outsourcing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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