Robotic animals might aid in the social development of children with autism

Cady M. Stanton, Peter H. Kahn, Rachel L. Severson, Jolina H. Ruckert, Brian T. Gill

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

This study investigated whether a robotic dog might aid in the social development of children with autism. Eleven children diagnosed with autism (ages 5-8) interacted with the robotic dog AIBO and, during a different period within the same experimental session, a simple mechanical toy dog (Kasha), which had no ability to detect or respond to its physical or social environment. Results showed that, in comparison to Kasha, the children spoke more words to AIBO, and more often engaged in three types of behavior with AIBO typical of children without autism: verbal engagement, reciprocal interaction, and authentic interaction. In addition, we found suggestive evidence (with p values ranging from .07 to .09) that the children interacted more with AIBO, and, while in the AIBO session, engaged in fewer autistic behaviors. Discussion focuses on why robotic animals might benefit children with autism.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHRI 2008 - Proceedings of the 3rd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
Subtitle of host publicationLiving with Robots
Pages271-278
Number of pages8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008
Event3rd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI 2008 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: Mar 12 2008Mar 15 2008

Publication series

NameHRI 2008 - Proceedings of the 3rd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction: Living with Robots

Conference

Conference3rd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI 2008
Country/TerritoryNetherlands
CityAmsterdam
Period03/12/0803/15/08

Keywords

  • AIBO
  • Animals
  • Autism
  • Reciprocity
  • Robots
  • Social development

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