Robotics: Science and Systems XVI

A social robot mediator to foster collaboration and inclusion among children

Sarah Gillet, Wouter van den Bos, Iolanda Leite


Formation of subgroups and thereby the problem of intergroup bias is well-studied in psychology. Already from the age of five, children can show ingroup preferences. We developed a social robot mediator to explore how a robot could help overcome these intergroup biases, especially for children newly arrived to a country. By utilizing an online evaluation of collaboration levels, we allow the robot to perceive and act upon the current group dynamics. We investigated the effectiveness of the robot's mediating behavior in a between-subject study with 39 children, of whom 13 children had arrived in Sweden within the last 2 years. Results indicate that the robot could help the process of inclusion by mediating the activity. The robot succeeds in encouraging the newly arrived children to act more outgoing and in increasing collaboration among ingroup children. Further, children show a higher level of prosociality after interacting with the robot. In line with prior work, this study demonstrates the ability of social robotic technology to assist group processes.



    AUTHOR    = {Sarah Gillet AND Wouter van den Bos AND Iolanda Leite}, 
    TITLE     = {{A social robot mediator to foster collaboration and inclusion among children}}, 
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems}, 
    YEAR      = {2020}, 
    ADDRESS   = {Corvalis, Oregon, USA}, 
    MONTH     = {July}, 
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2020.XVI.103}