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Interaction Studies

image of Interaction Studies
ISSN 1572-0373
E-ISSN 1572-0381

<p>This international, peer-reviewed journal aims to advance knowledge in the growing and strongly interdisciplinary area of Interaction Studies in biological and artificial systems. Understanding social behaviour and communication in biological and artificial systems requires knowledge of evolutionary, developmental and neurobiological aspects of social behaviour and communication; the embodied nature of interactions; origins and characteristics of social and narrative intelligence; perception, action and communication in the context of dynamic and social environments; social learning, adaptation and imitation; social behaviour in human-machine interactions; the nature of empathic understanding, behaviour and intention reading; minimal requirements and systems exhibiting social behaviour; the role of cultural factors in shaping social behaviour and communication in biological or artificial societies.</p><p>The journal welcomes contributions that analyze social behaviour in humans and other animals as well as research into the design and synthesis of robotic, software, virtual and other artificial systems, including applications such as exploiting human-machine interactions for educational or therapeutic purposes. Fields of interest comprise evolutionary biology, artificial intelligence, artificial life, robotics, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, computational neuroscience, cognitive modeling, ethology, social and biological anthropology, palaeontology, animal behaviour, linguistics.</p><p> <em>Interaction Studies</em> publishes research articles, research reports, and book reviews.</p><p><em>Interaction Studies</em> is a successor of <a href="15699757"><em>Evolution of Communication</em>.</a> While IS significantly broadens the original aims and scope of EoC, we clearly continue to encourage researchers studying the origins of human language and the evolutionary continuum of communication in general to submit high quality manuscripts to <em>Interaction Studies</em>.</p>

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  • The uncanny advantage of using androids in cognitive and social science research
    • Authors: Karl F. MacDorman, and Hiroshi Ishiguro
    • Source: Interaction Studies, Volume 7, Issue 3, 2006, pages: 297 –337
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    • The development of robots that closely resemble human beings can contribute to cognitive research. An android provides an experimental apparatus that has the potential to be controlled more precisely than any human actor. However, preliminary results indicate that only very humanlike devices can elicit the broad range of responses that people typically direct toward each other. Conversely, to build androids capable of emulating human behavior, it is necessary to investigate social activity in detail and to develop models of the cognitive mechanisms that support this activity. Because of the reciprocal relationship between android development and the exploration of social mechanisms, it is necessary to establish the field of android science. Androids could be a key testing ground for social, cognitive, and neuroscientific theories as well as platform for their eventual unification. Nevertheless, subtle flaws in appearance and movement can be more apparent and eerie in very humanlike robots. This uncanny phenomenon may be symptomatic of entities that elicit our model of human other but do not measure up to it. If so, very humanlike robots may provide the best means of pinpointing what kinds of behavior are perceived as human, since deviations from human norms are more obvious in them than in more mechanical-looking robots. In pursuing this line of inquiry, it is essential to identify the mechanisms involved in evaluations of human likeness. One hypothesis is that, by playing on an innate fear of death, an uncanny robot elicits culturally-supported defense responses for coping with death’s inevitability. An experiment, which borrows from methods used in terror management research, was performed to test this hypothesis.[Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators: Fast Breaking Paper in Social Sciences, May 2008]
  • Robot-mediated joint attention in children with autism: A case study in robot-human interaction
    • Authors: Ben Robins, Paul Dickerson, Penny Stribling, and Kerstin Dautenhahn
    • Source: Interaction Studies, Volume 5, Issue 2, 2004, pages: 161 –198
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    • Interactive robots are used increasingly not only in entertainment and service robotics, but also in rehabilitation, therapy and education. The work presented in this paper is part of the Aurora project, rooted in assistive technology and robot-human interaction research. Our primary aim is to study if robots can potentially be used as therapeutically or educationally useful ‘toys’. In this paper we outline the aims of the project that this study belongs to, as well as the specific qualitative contextual perspective that is being used. We then provide an in-depth evaluation, in part using Conversation Analysis (CA), of segments of trials where three children with autism interacted with a robot as well as an adult. We focus our analysis primarily on joint attention which plays a fundamental role in human development and social understanding. Joint attention skills of children with autism have been studied extensively in autism research and therefore this behaviour provides a relevant focus for our study. In the setting used, joint attention emerges from natural and spontaneous interactions between a child and an adult. We present the data in the form of transcripts and photo stills. The examples were selected from extensive video footage for illustrative purposes, i.e. demonstrating how children with autism can respond to the changing behaviour of their co-participant, i.e. the experimenter. Furthermore, our data shows that the robot provides a salient object, or mediator for joint attention. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications of this work in the context of further studies with robots and children with autism within the Aurora project, as well as the potential contribution of robots to research into the nature of autism.
  • The social construction of the cultural mind: Imitative learning as a mechanism of human pedagogy
    • Authors: György Gergely, and Gergely Csibra
    • Source: Interaction Studies, Volume 6, Issue 3, 2005, pages: 463 –481
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    • How does cultural knowledge shape the development of human minds and, conversely, what kind of species-specific social-cognitive mechanisms have evolved to support the intergenerational reproduction of cultural knowledge? We critically examine current theories proposing a human-specific drive to identify with and imitate conspecifics as the evolutionary mechanism underlying cultural learning. We summarize new data demonstrating the selective interpretive nature of imitative learning in 14-month-olds and argue that the predictive scope of existing imitative learning models is either too broad or too narrow to account for these findings. We outline our alternative theory of a human-specific adaptation for ‘pedagogy’, a communicative system of mutual design specialized for the fast and efficient transfer of new and relevant cultural knowledge from knowledgeable to ignorant conspecifics. We show the central role that innately specified ostensive-communicative triggering cues and learner-directed manner of knowledge manifestations play in constraining and guiding selective imitation of relevant cultural knowledge that is both new and cognitively opaque to the naive learner.
  • Does appearance matter in the interaction of children with autism with a humanoid robot?
    • Authors: Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn, and Janek Dubowski
    • Source: Interaction Studies, Volume 7, Issue 3, 2006, pages: 509 –542
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    • This article studies the impact of a robot’s appearance on interactions involving four children with autism. This work is part of the Aurora project with the overall aim to support interaction skills in children with autism, using robots as ‘interactive toys’ that can encourage and mediate interactions. We follow an approach commonly adopted in assistive robotics and work with a small group of children with autism. This article investigates which robot appearances are suitable to encourage interactions between a robot and children with autism. The children’s levels of interaction with and response to different appearances of two types of robots are compared: a small humanoid doll, and a life-sized ‘Theatrical Robot’ (a mime artist behaving like a robot). The small humanoid robot appeared either as a human-like ‘pretty doll’ or as a ‘robot’ with plain features. The Theatrical Robot was presented either as an ordinary human, or with plain clothing and a featureless, masked face. The results of these trials clearly indicate the children’s preference in their initial response for interaction with a plain, featureless robot over the interaction with a human-like robot. In the case of the life-size Theatrical Robot, the response of children towards the plain/robotic robot was notably more social and pro-active. Implications of these results for our work on using robots as assistive technology for children with autism and their possible use in autism research are discussed.
  • To move or not to move: How apes adjust to the attentional state of others
    • Authors: Katja Liebal, Josep Call, Michael Tomasello, and Simone Pika
    • Source: Interaction Studies, Volume 5, Issue 2, 2004, pages: 199 –219
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    • A previous observational study suggested that when faced with a partner with its back turned, chimpanzees tend to move around to the front of a non-attending partner and then gesture — rather than gesturing once to attract attention and then again to convey a specific intent. We investigated this preference experimentally by presenting six orangutans, five gorillas, nine chimpanzees, and four bonobos with a food begging situation in which we varied the body orientation of an experimenter (E) with respect to the subject (front vs. back) and the location of the food (in front or behind E). These manipulations allowed us to measure whether subjects preferred to move around to face E or to use signals to attract her attention before they begged for food. Results showed that all species moved around to face E and then produced visual gestures, instead of using tactile/ auditory gestures behind E to call her attention. Species differences were apparent particularly when the food and E were in different locations. Unlike gorillas and orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos (from genus Pan) produced their gestures in front of E in all conditions, including that in which subjects had to leave the food behind to communicate with her. Implications of these results are discussed in the context of the evolution of social cognition in great apes.
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