Enrobotment: Toy robots in the developing brain

Irini Giannopulu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contributionResearchpeer-review


Based on the internalized “object” and using cognitive, clinical, neuro-functional, and engineering arguments, this chapter analyzes the concept of enrobotment. Playing with objects/toys (including the imperceptible part, i.e., the shadow) implies that the objects/toys are part of the external environment, i.e., the “other.” The enrobotment signifies that the object’s internalization not only reflects the impact of the environment on child’s development but it also reverberates the echo of the child’s representations. An intermediate object (including shadow) is conceived in mind by the child him/herself. Having a high emotional value and forming an implicit/explicit autobiographical continuum in memory, it ensures the cohesion between the “self” and “other,” and it authorizes subjectification. The correlated representations allow the invention of ideas and concepts; motor and verbal actions including their intention prosper. Intention attribution to objects/toys constitutes a precursor of self-consciousness, as this intention, a specific anticipation, helps children to understand what it signifies to have a perspective. Recognizing what it implies to be a “self” is a parcel of envisioning mental states of the “other.” At the antipode, autism can be considered as an antithesis of self-consciousness. Children with autism cannot mirror the triadic relationship of “object-self-other.” Enrobotment allows them to improve their capability to be “self,” i.e., to emerge “self”-complexity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of digital games and entertainment technologies
EditorsR Nakatsu, M Rauterberg, P Ciancarini
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-4560-50-4
ISBN (Print)978-981-4560-49-8
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


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