People modify their tutoring behavior in robot-directed interaction for action learning

Anna-Lisa Vollmer*, Katrin Solveig Lohan, Kerstin Fischer, Yukie Nagai, Karola Pitsch, Jannik Fritsch, Katharina J. Rohfing, Britta Wrede

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

47 Citations (Scopus)


In developmental research, tutoring behavior has been identified as scaffolding infants' learning processes. It has been defined in terms of child-directed speech (Motherese), childdirected motion (Motionese), and contingency.In the field of developmental robotics, research often assumes that in humanrobot interaction (HRI), robots are treated similar to infants, because their immature cognitive capabilities benefit from this behavior. However, according to our knowledge, it has barely been studied whether this is true and how exactly humans alter their behavior towards a robotic interaction partner. In this paper, we present results concerning the acceptance of a robotic agent in a social learning scenario obtained via comparison to adults and 8-11 months old infants in equal conditions. These results constitute an important empirical basis for making use of tutoring behavior in social robotics. In our study, we performed a detailed multimodal analysis of HRI in a tutoring situation using the example of a robot simulation equipped with a bottom-up saliency-based attention model [1]. Our results reveal significant differences in hand movement velocity, motion pauses, range of motion, and eye gaze suggesting that for example adults decrease their hand movement velocity in an Adult-Child Interaction (ACI), opposed to an Adult-Adult Interaction (AAI) and this decrease is even higher in the Adult-Robot Interaction (ARI). We also found important differences between ACI and ARI in how the behavior is modified over time as the interaction unfolds. These findings indicate the necessity of integrating top-down feedback structures into a bottom-up system for robots to be fully accepted as interaction partners.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2009 IEEE 8th International Conference on Development and Learning (ICDL)
ISBN (Electronic)9781424441181
ISBN (Print)9781424441174
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2009
Event8th IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning 2009 - Shanghai, China
Duration: 5 Jun 20097 Jun 2009


Conference8th IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning 2009
Abbreviated titleICDL 2009


  • Action learning
  • Contingency
  • Human-robot interaction
  • Motionese
  • Tutoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Information Systems


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