Selma Sabanovic

Selma Sabanovic

Associate Professor, Informatics and Cognitive Science

Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering


  • Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2007
  • M.A. in Political Science and International Relations at Bogazici University, Istanbul, 2001
  • B.A. in Political Science and International Relations at Bogazici University, Istanbul, 1998

Research interests

I am an Associate Professor of Informatics and Cognitive Science at Indiana University, Bloomington. I founded and direct the R-House Laboratory for Human-Robot Interaction research at IUB. My work combines the social studies of computing, focusing particularly on the design, use, and consequences of socially interactive and assistive robots in different social and cultural contexts, with research on human-robot interaction (HRI) and social robot design. My main research goals are threefold: (1) developing a critical understanding of the development and use of socially interactive robots in society; (2) studying how social and cultural factors influence robotics science and technology development; and (3) using critical perspectives and insights from the social study of interactive robotic technologies to design, implement, and evaluate socially and culturally situated robots. My research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Honda Research Institute, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and Indiana University.

Professional Experience

  • I was a visiting guest professor at Bielefeld University's Cognitive Interaction Technology -- Center of Excellence in Summer 2014. In 2008/2009, I was a lecturer in Stanford University's Program in Science, Technology and Society. I was also a visiting scholar at the Intelligent Systems Institute in AIST, Tsukuba, Japan and the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in 2005.

Representative publications

Robots in society, society in robots: Mutual Shaping of Society and Technology as a Framework for Social Robot Design (2010)
Selma Šabanović
International Journal of Social Robotics, 2 (4), 439-450

Inventing Japan’s ‘robotics culture’: The repeated assembly of science, technology, and culture in social robotics (2014)
Selma Šabanović
Social Studies of Science, 44 (3), 342-367

Culturally variable preferences for robot design and use in South Korea, Turkey, and the United States (2014)
Hee Rin Lee and Selma Sabanović
ACM. 17-24

Designing robots in the wild: In situ prototype evaluation for a break management robot (2014)
Selma Šabanović, Sarah M Reeder and Bobak Kechavarzi
Journal of Human-Robot Interaction, 3 (1), 70-88

Deriving minimal features for human-like facial expressions in robotic faces (2014)
Casey C Bennett and Selma Šabanović
International Journal of Social Robotics, 6 (3), 367-381

Steps toward participatory design of social robots: mutual learning with older adults with depression (2017)
Hee Rin Lee, Selma Šabanović, Wan-Ling Chang, David Hakken, Shinichi Nagata, Jen Piatt ...
IEEE. 244-253

Interaction expands function: Social shaping of the therapeutic robot PARO in a nursing home (2015)
Wan-Ling Chang and Selma Sabanovic
IEEE. 343-350

Towards culturally robust robots: A critical social perspective on robotics and culture (2014)
Selma Šabanović, Casey C Bennett and Hee Rin Lee
Proc. HRI Workshop on Culture-Aware Robotics, 2014

Three's company, or a crowd?: The effects of robot number and behavior on HRI in Japan and the USA (2015)
Marlena R Fraune, Satoru Kawakami, Selma Sabanovic, P Ravindra S De Silva and Michio Okada

Socializing robots: constructing robotic sociality in the design and use of the assistive robot PARO (2016)
Selma Šabanović and Wan-Ling Chang
AI & society, 31 (4), 537-551

Cognitive human–robot interaction (2016)
Bilge Mutlu, Nicholas Roy and Selma Šabanović
Springer, Cham. 1907-1934

Dragons, ladybugs, and softballs: Girls’ STEM engagement with human-centered robotics (2016)
Andrea Gomoll, Cindy E Hmelo-Silver, Selma Šabanović and Matthew Francisco
Journal of Science Education and Technology, 25 (6), 899-914

Emotion in robot cultures: Cultural models of affect in social robot design (2010)
S Šabanović
Proceedings of the Conference on Design & Emotion (D&E2010),

Robots in groups and teams (2017)
Malte F Jung, Selma Šabanović, Friederike Eyssel and Marlena Fraune
ACM. 401-407

Robots in the wild: Observing human-robot social interaction outside the lab (2006)
Selma Sabanovic, Marek P Michalowski and Reid Simmons
IEEE. 596-601