Kids' relationships and learning with social robots
One of the things MIT and Media Lab do really well is to get their reserachers to communicate their work in straighforward and engaging narrative. I wish more institutes (including our own) did this. Anyhow, this article describes how children forming relationships with robots demonstrates greater learning outcomes. The relationships are created by having the robot itself engage in relationship-behaviour: "interacting multiple times, changing in response to those interactions, referencing experiences shared together, being responsive, showing rapport (e.g., with mirroring and entrainment), and reciprocating behaviors." Children responsed with similar behaviours, and those that did had the higher scores. There's a lot still to unpack here, and this work is worth watching with interest. For the academic treatment of the topic, see their paper (12 page PDF).
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