Autumn Edwards

Photo of Autumn Edwards
Autumn P. Edwards
Professor of Communication
(269) 387-0358
221 Sprau Tower, Mail Stop 5318
Mailing address: 
School of Communication
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5318 USA
  • Ph.D., Communication, Ohio University, 2006
  • M.A., University of Kansas, 2001
  • B.A, Texas Tech University, 1999
Teaching interests: 
  • Human-machine communication
  • User Experience (Intro, Research, Design, Evaluation)
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Quantitative research methods
Research interests: 
  • Human-Machine Communication (HMC)
  • Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)
  • Artificial Sociality

Autumn Edwards is a Professor of Communication at Western Michigan University, where she co-directs the Communication & Social Robotics Labs ( Professor Edwards is a Theodore von Kármán Fellow at RWTH Aachen University in Germany. She is a University Distinguished Teacher at Western Michigan University, the highest award given for excellence in instruction, and she was Claude Kantner Research Fellow at Ohio University. Professor Edwards is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal Human-Machine Communication, which focuses on the theory and practice of communication with and about digital interlocutors, including social robots, technologically augmented persons (cyborgs), and communication in augmented, virtual, and mixed-reality environments. She was named in 2020 by Women in Robotics as one of “30 Women in Robotics You Need to Know About” for contributions to understanding how ontological considerations, or beliefs about the nature of communication and communicators, both shape and are shaped by interactions with social robots.


Professor Edwards writes about the worldviews, expectations, impressions, and message strategies people bring to communication with social robots and artificial partners. Her most rewarding work often occurs in close collaboration with lab co-directors Patric Spence, David Westerman, and Chad Edwards, who have together introduced the “human-to-human interaction script” to refer to people’s initial expectation of and preference for communicating with other human beings (an anthropocentric expectancy bias) and the potential for expectancy violation effects arising from communication with social robots. She is the author of over 80 research articles and book chapters and co-edited with Adam Tyma the book "Communication is….Perspectives on Theory." Her other books include "The Communication Age: Connecting and Engaging "(SAGE) and the forthcoming (2024) "DeGruyter Handbook of Robots in Society and Culture" (edited with Leopoldina Fortunati).


Professor Edwards was instrumental in the development of the subfield of communication and media studies called human-machine communication (HMC). She was involved in the creation of the official HMC interest group at the International Communication Association and has organized many workshops on the topic reaching across the disciplines of Communication, Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), and Internet Studies. Between these activities and editorship of Human-Machine Communication, she is well-networked with scholars from STS, psychology, communication & media, sociology, HRI, and HCI fields.


For more information about her work, please see: 
ResearchGateORCID, or Google Scholar