Abstract
This article studies the impact of a robot’s appearance on interactions involving four children with autism. This work is part of the Aurora project with the overall aim to support interaction skills in children with autism, using robots as ‘interactive toys’ that can encourage and mediate interactions. We follow an approach commonly adopted in assistive robotics and work with a small group of children with autism. This article investigates which robot appearances are suitable to encourage interactions between a robot and children with autism. The children’s levels of interaction with and response to different appearances of two types of robots are compared: a small humanoid doll, and a life-sized ‘Theatrical Robot’. The small humanoid robot appeared either as a human-like ‘pretty doll’ or as a ‘robot’ with plain features. The Theatrical Robot was presented either as an ordinary human, or with plain clothing and a featureless, masked face. The results of these trials clearly indicate the children’s preference in their initial response for interaction with a plain, featureless robot over the interaction with a human-like robot. In the case of the life-size Theatrical Robot, the response of children towards the plain/robotic robot was notably more social and pro-active. Implications of these results for our work on using robots as assistive technology for children with autism and their possible use in autism research are discussed.
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DOI 10.1075/is.7.3.16rob
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Other Minds, Other Intelligences: The Problem of Attributing Agency to Machines.Sven Nyholm - 2019 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 28 (4):592-598.
The Eyes Are the Window to the Uncanny Valley.Chelsea Schein & Kurt Gray - 2015 - Interaction Studies. Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systemsinteraction Studies / Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systemsinteraction Studies 16 (2):173-179.
The Eyes Are the Window to the Uncanny Valley: Mind Perception, Autism and Missing Souls.Chelsea Schein & Kurt Gray - 2015 - Interaction Studiesinteraction Studies Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems 16 (2):173-179.

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