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Behav Processes. 2006 Jul;73(1):92-9. Epub 2006 Apr 6.

Behavioural comparison of human-animal (dog) and human-robot (AIBO) interactions.

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Comparative Ethology Research Group, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary.


The behavioural analysis of human-robot interactions can help in developing socially interactive robots. The current study analyzes human-robot interaction with Theme software and the corresponding pattern detection algorithm. The method is based on the analysis of the temporal structure of the interactions by detecting T-patterns in the behaviour. We have compared humans' (children and adults) play behaviour interacting either with an AIBO or a living dog puppy. The analysis based on measuring latencies and frequencies of behavioural units suggested limited differences, e.g. the latency of humans touching the dog/AIBO was similar. In addition other differences could be accounted for by the limited abilities of the robot to interact with objects. Although the number of interactive T-patterns did not significantly differ among the groups but the partner's type (whether humans were playing with dog or AIBO) had a significant effect on the structure of the patterns. Both children and adults terminated T-patterns more frequently when playing with AIBO than when playing with the dog puppy, which suggest that the robot has a limited ability to engage in temporally structured behavioural interactions with humans. As other human studies suggest that the temporal complexity of the interaction is good measure of the partner's attitude, we suggest that more attention should be paid in the future to the robots' ability to engage in cooperative interaction with humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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