Android Robot Promotes Disclosure of Negative Narratives by Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders

Hirokazu Kumazaki, Taro Muramatsu, Yuichiro Yoshikawa, Yoshio Matsumoto, Keiji Takata, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Masaru Mimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) demonstrate some challenges with personal narrative writing. Sentence completion tests (SCT) is a class of semi-structured projective techniques and encourage respondents to disclose their private narratives. Even in SCT, only providing beginning of sentences is inadequate to compensate atypicalities in their creativity and imagination, and self-disclosure is difficult for many individuals with ASD. It is reported that many individuals with ASD often achieve a higher degree of task engagement through interactions with robots and that robotic systems may be useful in eliciting and promoting social communication such as self-disclosure for some individuals with ASD. There is a possibility that exemplification by android robots in place of human interviewers can result in a higher degree of task engagement for individuals with ASD. The objective of this study was to investigate whether additional exemplifications by android robots in the SCT can prompt self-disclosure for individuals with ASD. We compared the difference in disclosure statements and subjective emotion in the testing paper of the SCT in additional exemplification by an android robot and a human interviewer. In addition, we assessed the disclosure statements and subjective emotions in the SCT, for which exemplifications were written on testing paper to make the comparison. Our quantitative data suggested that exemplification by android robot promoted more self-disclosure, especially about the negative topic compared to exemplification by a human interviewer and that written on test paper. In addition, the level of participant embarrassment in response to exemplification by the android robot seemed to be lower compared to that in the human interviewer condition. In the assessment and support for individuals with ASD, eliciting self-disclosure is a pressing issue. It is hoped that the appropriate use of robots will lead to a better understanding and support for their application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number899664
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun 15

Keywords

  • android robot
  • autism spectrum disorders
  • narrative
  • self-disclosure
  • sentence completion test (SCT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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