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This paper presents results of a novel study on interaction kinesics where 18 children interacted with a humanoid child-sized robot called KASPAR. Based on findings in psychology and social sciences we propose the temporal behaviour matching hypothesis which predicts that children will adapt to and match the robot's temporal behaviour. Each child took part in six experimental trials involving two games in which the dynamics of interactions played a key part: a body expression imitation game, where the robot imitated expressions demonstrated by the children, and a drumming game where the robot mirrored the children's drumming. In both games KASPAR responded either with or without a delay. Additionally, in the drumming game, KASPAR responded with or without exhibiting facial/gestural expressions. Individual case studies as well as statistical analysis of the complete sample are presented. Results show that a delay of the robot's drumming response lead to larger pauses (with and without robot nonverbal gestural expressions) and longer drumming durations (with nonverbal gestural expressions only). In the imitation game, the robot's delay lead to longer imitation eliciting behaviour with longer pauses for the children, but systematic individual differences are observed in regards to the effects on the children's pauses. Results are generally consistent with the temporal behaviour matching hypothesis, i.e. children adapted the timing of their behaviour, e.g. by mirroring to the robot's temporal behaviour.
Date of Conference: 12-15 March 2008