Interpretation of Emotional Body Language Displayed by a Humanoid Robot: A Case Study with Children


The work reported in this paper focuses on giving humanoid robots the capacity to express emotions with their body. Previous results show that adults are able to interpret different key poses displayed by a humanoid robot and also that changing the head position affects the expressiveness of the key poses in a consistent way. Moving the head down leads to decreased arousal (the level of energy) and valence (positive or negative emotion) whereas moving the head up produces an increase along these dimensions. Hence, changing the head position during an interaction should send intuitive signals. The study reported in this paper tested children’s ability to recognize the emotional body language displayed by a humanoid robot. The results suggest that body postures and head position can be used to convey emotions during child-robot interaction.

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The authors would like to thank the school “scuola media Dante Alighieri” for hosting the study as well as Arnaud Ducamp and Cornelius Glackin for their feedback on an earlier version of this paper.

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Correspondence to Aryel Beck.

Additional information

This work is funded by the EU FP7 ALIZ-E project (grant number 248116). This paper is an extended and improved version of Beck, A., Cañamero, L., Damiano, L., Sommavilla, G., Tesser, F., Cosi, P.: Children Interpretation of Emotional Body Language Displayed by a Robot. In: Proceeding of Social Robotics, Third International Conference, ICSR 2011, pp 62–70, Springer, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2011).

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Beck, A., Cañamero, L., Hiolle, A. et al. Interpretation of Emotional Body Language Displayed by a Humanoid Robot: A Case Study with Children. Int J of Soc Robotics 5, 325–334 (2013).

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  • Robotic
  • Emotional body language
  • Perception