Minimalistic toy robot to analyze a scenery of speaker–listener condition in autism

Irini Giannopulu*, Valérie Montreynaud, Tomio Watanabe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Atypical neural architecture causes impairment in communication capabilities and reduces the ability of representing the referential statements of other people in children with autism. During a scenery of “speaker–listener” communication, we have analyzed verbal and emotional expressions in neurotypical children (n = 20) and in children with autism (n = 20). The speaker was always a child, and the listener was a human or a minimalistic robot which reacts to speech expression by nodding only. Although both groups performed the task, everything happens as if the robot could allow children with autism to elaborate a multivariate equation encoding and conceptualizing within his/her brain, and externalizing into unconscious emotion (heart rate) and conscious verbal speech (words). Such a behavior would indicate that minimalistic artificial environments such as toy robots could be considered as the root of neuronal organization and reorganization with the potential to improve brain activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-203
Number of pages9
JournalCognitive Processing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


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