Online ISSN 2313-1519
Print    ISSN 1812-2892
Abstract - Identifying Linguistic Cues; Towards Developing Robots With Empathy in Autism Interventions
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Vasiliki Aliki Nikopoulou, Vasiliki Holeva, Maria Dialechti Kerasidou, Petros Kechayas, Maria Papadopoulou, Eleni Vrochidou, George A. Papakostas, Vassilis G. Kaburlasos

ABSTRACT

The last decade autism research has been enhanced by the use of social robots and several studies suggest that children with Autism Spectrum Disorders could benefit from robot-assisted interventions. In order to design and implement therapeutic interventions with robots without interrupting the intervention’s flow, one should take into account possible technical issues that could arise. The main objective of this study was to gather information from experts in the field of autism and develop linguistic cues to which the robot would respond automatically. A qualitative approach was used to explore specialists’ preferences. Online surveys were completed by 33 professionals from different backgrounds to select the vocabulary more often used in psychosocial interventions with autism spectrum disorders children, in specific situations. Six linguistic cues were identified and specific phrases were used so as to accordingly program the robot to show empathy and respond, when a crisis emerges. The session’s flow in robot-enhanced interventions could benefit by controlling robot’s behaviour with linguistic cues phrased by the therapist. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to pilot implementation. This work consists of a qualitative study aiming at strengthening the application of a larger research intervention protocol to explore the interaction of children with autism spectrum disorder with a social robot.

Key words: social robots, autism spectrum disorders, human-robot interaction, psychological intervention, robotic empathy, robot-assisted therapy

Corresponding Author: Dr Vasiliki Holeva, Clinical Psychology Department, Papageorgiou General Hospital. Address: Circular Road Neas Efkarpias, Thessaloniki 56429, Greece. E-mail: vholeva@yahoo.gr

 

 

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Volume 2, Number 56 (2020)