Artificial Life and Robotics

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 58–63 | Cite as

Psychological effects of physical embodiment in artificial pet therapy

  • Rina Hayashi
  • Shohei Kato
Original Article


The increase in stress-related problems and the corresponding rapid growth in demand for pet therapy have created a demand for stress-relief methods through interactions with pet robots and virtual pets instead of real animals; however, it is unclear which characteristics of pet robots and virtual pets have therapeutic effects. In this study, we use the temporary mood scale to compare the therapeutic effects produced by a pet robot and a virtual pet, focusing on the effects of the physical interactions enabled by physical embodiment. The pet robot shows significantly lower tension scores and higher vigor scores when compared with the virtual pet. These results suggest that pet robots have a greater therapeutic effect than virtual pets, particularly with regard to their ability to ease tension and increase vigor.


Human–robot interaction Physical embodiment Robot-assisted therapy 



This research is partially supported by the Matching Planner Program under Grant #MP27115663051 from the Japan Science and Technology Agency, JST.


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Copyright information

© ISAROB 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nippon Soken, Inc.NishioJapan
  2. 2.Nagoya Institute of TechnologyNagoyaJapan

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