Interaction Matters: The Effect of Touching the Social Robot PARO on Pain and Stress is Stronger When Turned ON vs. OFF

Nirit Geva, Netta Hermoni, Shelly Levy-Tzedek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social touch between humans, as well as between humans and animals, was previously found to reduce pain and stress. We previously reported that touching a social robot can also induce a reduction in pain ratings. However, it is unclear if the effect that touching a robot has on pain perception is due to its appearance and its pleasant touch, or due to its ability to socially interact with humans. In the current experiment, we aimed to assess the contribution of the interactive quality to pain perception. We assessed the effect of touching the social robot PARO on mild and strong pain ratings and on stress perception, on a total of 60 healthy young participants. The robot either interacted with participants (ON group, n = 30) or was turned off (OFF group, n = 30). Touching the robot induced a decrease in mild pain ratings (compared to baseline) only in the ON group while strong pain ratings decreased similarly in both the ON and the OFF groups. The decrease in mild pain ratings in the ON group was significantly greater in participants with a higher positive perception of the interaction with PARO. We conclude that part of the effect that touching the robot has on pain stems from its interactive features.

Original languageEnglish
Article number926185
JournalFrontiers in Robotics and AI
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - 8 Jul 2022

Keywords

  • human-robot interaction
  • interactivity
  • pain
  • sociality
  • stress
  • touch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence

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