Robot, can you help me? Help-giving and help-seeking for collaborative child-robot interaction

Title:Robot, can you help me? Help-giving and help-seeking for collaborative child-robot interaction
Institute:University of Twente (HMI)
Place:Enschede The Netherlands
Type:Capita selecta and Research Topics
End date:not present
HMI ContactCristina Zaga


Social robots are envisioned as partners for children, offering companionship, tutoring and social assistance in various domains (e.g., education, therapy).
Despite the willingness to design robotic companions for children, in child-robot interaction (cHRI) the phenomenon of collaboration is not yet fully explored.
There is little or no space for reciprocal and co-ordinated actions among interactants towards a common goal and little is know on how a social robot can promote task and social collaboration among children. One of the main aspects of collaboration is helping and asking for help. For instance providing help to a less knowledgeable peer to succeed in a difficult task, or asking for help to understand a complicated concept or helping to provide empathy and emotional regulation among children.

In this assignment, you will be focusing on gathering, organizing and reviewing existing multidisciplinary research in the field of child-robot interaction and child-child interaction concerning prosocial behaviors like help-giving and help-seeking.
Possible questions you will try to answer are: How can a social robot provide help in the interactions and what are the strategies to ask for help? How can we model these behaviors? What are the main social and behavioral cues a social robot needs to sense to know when to provide or ask for help? How can a robot help more than one child? Are there strategies to help the socio-emotional regulation of multiparty child-robot interaction? Conversely, will a child help a robot asking for support? What types of help-seeking behaviors children engage in when interacting with a social robot? What are situational and emotional cues that will support children’s help-giving to a robot?

You will provide an overview of the contexts/domains where prosocial behaviors like help-giving and help-seeking play an important role. You will list and critically discuss the methods used to design/model robot's prosocial behaviors like help-giving and help-seeking and you will present strategies used by a robot to promote children's helpful behavior. You will give particular attention on the robot behavior modalities (verbal and non-verbal behaviors). The goal is to provide a clear picture of the state of the art of robots' prosocial behaviors like help-giving and help-seeking in cHRI, to outline open challenges/gaps in the literature and ultimately, to provide insights for future directions.

Alternatively, it is possible to discuss a more practical approach to the assignment, e.g., you could design/animate a small set of help-giving and help-seeking behaviors for a robot and validate them.


Beran, T. N., Ramirez-Serrano, A., Kuzyk, R., Nugent, S., & Fior, M. Would children help a robot in need?. International Journal of Social Robotics,3(1), 83-93, 2011.
Fong, T., Nourbakhsh, I., & Dautenhahn, K., A survey of socially interactive robots. Robotics and autonomous systems, 42(3), 143-166, 2003.
Walker E., Rumme M., Koedinger P. K., Modeling Helping Behavior in an Intelligent Tutor for Peer Tutoring. In: AIED, pp. 341-348, 2009.