A pilot study for robot appearance preferences among high-functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorder: Implications for therapeutic use

Hirokazu Kumazaki, Zachary Warren, Taro Muramatsu, Yuichiro Yoshikawa, Yoshio Matsumoto, Masutomo Miyao, Mitsuko Nakano, Sakae Mizushima, Yujin Wakita, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Masaru Mimura, Yoshio Minabe, Mitsuru Kikuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent rapid technological advances have enabled robots to fulfill a variety of human-like functions, leading researchers to propose the use of such technology for the development and subsequent validation of interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Although a variety of robots have been proposed as possible therapeutic tools, the physical appearances of humanoid robots currently used in therapy with these patients are highly varied. Very little is known about how these varied designs are experienced by individuals with ASD. In this study, we systematically evaluated preferences regarding robot appearance in a group of 16 individuals with ASD (ages 10–17). Our data suggest that there may be important differences in preference for different types of robots that vary according to interaction type for individuals with ASD. Specifically, within our pilot sample, children with higher-levels of reported ASD symptomatology reported a preference for specific humanoid robots to those perceived as more mechanical or mascot-like. The findings of this pilot study suggest that preferences and reactions to robotic interactions may vary tremendously across individuals with ASD. Future work should evaluate how such differences may be systematically measured and potentially harnessed to facilitate meaningful interactive and intervention paradigms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0186581
JournalPloS one
Volume12
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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    Kumazaki, H., Warren, Z., Muramatsu, T., Yoshikawa, Y., Matsumoto, Y., Miyao, M., Nakano, M., Mizushima, S., Wakita, Y., Ishiguro, H., Mimura, M., Minabe, Y., & Kikuchi, M. (2017). A pilot study for robot appearance preferences among high-functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorder: Implications for therapeutic use. PloS one, 12(10), [e0186581]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0186581