Multimodal cognitive nonverbal and verbal interactions: The neurorehabilitation of autistic children via mobile toy robots

Irini Giannopulu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Multimodal cognitive nonverbal processes could be thought as a building block from which emotional and verbal expressions could emerge. With the intention to explore this hypothesis, we studied the interaction between autistic children and mobile toy robots during free spontaneous game play both quantitatively and qualitatively. Cognitive nonverbal criteria (eye contact, touch, manipulation, and posture) were analyzed, firstly in a dyadic interaction and secondly in a triadic interaction. The frequency of nouns and verbs including those which express positive emotion was figured out only in dyadic interaction. Once the cognitive nonverbal state between the child and the robot established, the child interacts with a third person displaying positive emotion. A positive correlation exists between multimodal cognitive nonverbal processes and verbal expression when the free game play with the robot is possible. This data suggests that in free spontaneous game play (i.e., ecological situation) the mobile toy robots could be used as a neural orthesis to enhance severe, middle and moderate autistic children's brain multimodal activity. The findings allow us to infer that this neural orthesis could pave the way for the development of synergistic dialogues between autistic children and human environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-222
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal on Advances in Life Sciences
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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