Mutual Benefits of Using Humanoid Robots in Social Neuroscience

Thierry Chaminade and Mitsuo Kawato

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342161
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Mutual Benefits of Using Humanoid Robots in Social Neuroscience

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology


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The prospect of closer ties between social cognitive neuroscience and robotics is gaining momentum in both communities. First, as artificial anthropomorphic agents, such as humanoid robots and computer-animated characters, are on the verge of being accessible for casual use, it has become important to understand humans’ reactions towards these agents in social cognitive neuroscience terms. Besides, humanoid robots provide new tools to investigate human social cognitive neuroscience, the study of the brain processes underlying everyday interactions between individuals. Finally, social cognitive neurosciences can participate in enhancing the social competence of companion robots. The interdisciplinary approach used to test hypotheses pertaining to motor control, from low-level control to social aspects of motor cognition such as imitative learning, will be presented in a first section. Then, we will review studies in which humanoid robots and robotic parts were used to assess the framework of social resonance, grounded on the finding of an overlap between behavioral and neural processes recruited when experiencing an event and when perceiving another individual experiencing the same event. Finally, we will discuss how results and models from social cognitive neurosciences can be combined with resources from computer and robotic sciences to enhance the social competence of artificial agents.

Keywords: robotics; humanoid robots; social cognitive neuroscience; artificial agents; social resonance

Article.  11247 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Social Psychology

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