A Robot Model of OC-Spectrum Disorders: Design Framework, Implementation and First Experiments

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Computational psychiatry is increasingly establishing itself as valuable discipline for understanding human mental disorders. However, robot models and their potential for investigating embodied and contextual aspects of mental health have been, to date, largely unexplored. In this paper, we present an initial robot model of obsessive-compulsive (OC) spectrum disorders based on an embodied motivation-based control architecture for decision making in autonomous robots. The OC family of conditions is chiefly characterized by obsessions (recurrent, invasive thoughts) and/or compulsions (an urge to carry out certain repetitive or ritualized behaviors). The design of our robot model follows and illustrates a general design framework that we have proposed to ground research in robot models of mental disorders, and to link it with existing methodologies in psychiatry, and notably in the design of animal models. To test and validate our model, we present and discuss initial experiments, results and quantitative and qualitative analysis regarding the compulsive and obsessive elements of OC-spectrum disorders. While this initial stage of development only models basic elements of such disorders, our results already shed light on aspects of the underlying theoretical model that are not obvious simply from consideration of the model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-75
JournalComputational Psychiatry
Issue number3
Early online date19 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jun 2019


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