Assistance dogs provide a useful behavioral model to enrich communicative skills of assistance robots

M. Gácsi, Sára Szakadát, A. Miklósi

Research output: Article

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

These studies are part of a project aiming to reveal relevant aspects of human-dog interactions, which could serve as a model to design successful human-robot interactions. Presently there are no successfully commercialized assistance robots, however, assistance dogs work efficiently as partners for persons with disabilities. In Study 1, we analyzed the cooperation of 32 assistance dog-owner dyads performing a carrying task. We revealed typical behavior sequences and also differences depending on the dyads' experiences and on whether the owner was a wheelchair user. In Study 2, we investigated dogs' responses to unforeseen difficulties during a retrieving task in two contexts. Dogs displayed specific communicative and displacement behaviors, and a strong commitment to execute the insoluble task. Questionnaire data from Study 3 confirmed that these behaviors could successfully attenuate owners' disappointment. Although owners anticipated the technical competence of future assistance robots to be moderate/high, they could not imagine robots as emotional companions, which negatively affected their acceptance ratings of future robotic assistants. We propose that assistance dogs' cooperative behaviors and problem solving strategies should inspire the development of the relevant functions and social behaviors of assistance robots with limited manual and verbal skills.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 971
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume4
Issue numberDEC
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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Dogs
Wheelchairs
Social Behavior
Robotics
Disabled Persons
Mental Competency
Cooperative Behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

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title = "Assistance dogs provide a useful behavioral model to enrich communicative skills of assistance robots",
abstract = "These studies are part of a project aiming to reveal relevant aspects of human-dog interactions, which could serve as a model to design successful human-robot interactions. Presently there are no successfully commercialized assistance robots, however, assistance dogs work efficiently as partners for persons with disabilities. In Study 1, we analyzed the cooperation of 32 assistance dog-owner dyads performing a carrying task. We revealed typical behavior sequences and also differences depending on the dyads' experiences and on whether the owner was a wheelchair user. In Study 2, we investigated dogs' responses to unforeseen difficulties during a retrieving task in two contexts. Dogs displayed specific communicative and displacement behaviors, and a strong commitment to execute the insoluble task. Questionnaire data from Study 3 confirmed that these behaviors could successfully attenuate owners' disappointment. Although owners anticipated the technical competence of future assistance robots to be moderate/high, they could not imagine robots as emotional companions, which negatively affected their acceptance ratings of future robotic assistants. We propose that assistance dogs' cooperative behaviors and problem solving strategies should inspire the development of the relevant functions and social behaviors of assistance robots with limited manual and verbal skills.",
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AU - Szakadát, Sára

AU - Miklósi, A.

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KW - Problem solving strategy

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