University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)3:1-3:24
JournalACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems
Journal publication dateMar 2012
Volume2
Issue1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

Abstract

We present here the design and applications of an arousal-based model controlling the behavior of a Sony AIBO robot during the exploration of a novel environment: a children’s play mat. When the robot experiences
too many new perceptions, the increase of arousal triggers calls for attention towards its human caregiver. The caregiver can choose to either calm the robot down by providing it with comfort, or to leave the robot coping with the situation on its own. When the arousal of the robot has decreased, the robot moves on to
further explore the play mat. We gathered results from two experiments using this arousal-driven control architecture. In the first setting, we show that such a robotic architecture allows the human caregiver to influence greatly the learning outcomes of the exploration episode, with some similarities to a primary care-
giver during early childhood. In a second experiment, we tested how human adults behaved in a similar setup with two different robots: one “needy”, often demanding attention, and one more independent, requesting far
less care or assistance. Our results show that human adults recognise each profile of the robot for what they have been designed, and behave accordingly to what would be expected, caring more for the needy robot than
for the other. Additionally, the subjects exhibited a preference and more positive affect whilst interacting and rating the robot we designed as needy. This experiment leads us to the conclusion that our architecture and setup succeeded in eliciting positive and caregiving behavior from adults of different age groups and technological background. Finally, the consistency and reactivity of the robot during this dyadic interaction appeared crucial for the enjoyment and engagement of the human partner.

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