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  1. Team member inclusion is vital in collaborative teams. In this work, we explore two strategies to increase the inclusion of human team members in a human-robot team: 1) giving a person in the group a specialized role (the 'robot liaison') and 2) having the robot verbally support human team members. In a human subjects experiment (N = 26 teams, 78 participants), groups of three participants completed two rounds of a collaborative task. In round one, two participants (ingroup) completed a task with a robot in one room, and one participant (outgroup) completed the same task with a robot in a different room. In round two, all three participants and one robot completed a second task in the same room, where one participant was designated as the robot liaison. During round two, the robot verbally supported each participant 6 times on average. Results show that participants with the robot liaison role had a lower perceived group inclusion than the other group members. Additionally, when outgroup members were the robot liaison, the group was less likely to incorporate their ideas into the group's final decision. In response to the robot's supportive utterances, outgroup members, and not ingroup members, showed an increase in the proportion of time they spent talking to the group. Our results suggest that specialized roles may hinder human team member inclusion, whereas supportive robot utterances show promise in encouraging contributions from individuals who feel excluded. 
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  2. Social robots are becoming increasingly influential in shaping the behavior of humans with whom they interact. Here, we examine how the actions of a social robot can influence human-to-human communication, and not just robot–human communication, using groups of three humans and one robot playing 30 rounds of a collaborative game ( n = 51 groups). We find that people in groups with a robot making vulnerable statements converse substantially more with each other, distribute their conversation somewhat more equally, and perceive their groups more positively compared to control groups with a robot that either makes neutral statements or no statements at the end of each round. Shifts in robot speech have the power not only to affect how people interact with robots, but also how people interact with each other, offering the prospect for modifying social interactions via the introduction of artificial agents into hybrid systems of humans and machines. 
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