Can robotic systems promote self-disclosure in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder? A pilot study

Hirokazu Kumazaki, Zachary Warren, Amy Swanson, Yuichiro Yoshikawa, Yoshio Matsumoto, Hideyuki Takahashi, Nilanjan Sarkar, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Masaru Mimura, Yoshio Minabe, Mitsuru Kikuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Research suggests that many individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often demonstrate challenges providing appropriate levels of information during conversational interchanges. Considering the preference of individuals with ASD, and recent rapid technological advances, robotic systems may yield promise in promoting certain aspects of conversation and interaction such as self-disclosure of appropriate personal information. In the current work, we evaluated personal disclosures of events with specific emotional content across two differing robotic systems (android and simplistic humanoid) and human interactions. Nineteen participants were enrolled in this study: 11 (2 women and 9 men) adolescents with ASD and 8 (4 women and 4 men) adolescents with TD. Each participant completed a sequence of three interactions in a random order. Results indicated differences regarding comfort level and length of disclosures between adolescents with ASD and typically developing (TD) controls in relation to system interactions. Specifically, adolescents with ASD showed a preference for interacting with the robotic systems compared to TD controls and demonstrated lengthier disclosures when interacting with the visually simple humanoid robot compared to interacting with human interviewer. The findings suggest that robotic systems may be useful in eliciting and promoting aspects of social communication such as self-disclosure for some individuals with ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Issue numberFEB
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 9


  • Android robot
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Robotics
  • Self-disclosure
  • Simplistic humanoid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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