Cognitive Intervention Through Photo-Integrated Conversation Moderated by Robots (PICMOR) Program: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Mihoko Otake-Matsuura, Seiki Tokunaga, Kumi Watanabe, Masato S. Abe, Takuya Sekiguchi, Hikaru Sugimoto, Taishiro Kishimoto, Takashi Kudo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Social interaction might prevent or delay dementia, but little is known about the specific effects of various social activity interventions on cognition. This study conducted a single-site randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Photo-Integrated Conversation Moderated by Robots (PICMOR), a group conversation intervention program for resilience against cognitive decline and dementia. In the RCT, PICMOR was compared to an unstructured group conversation condition. Sixty-five community-living older adults participated in this study. The intervention was provided once a week for 12 weeks. Primary outcome measures were the cognitive functions; process outcome measures included the linguistic characteristics of speech to estimate interaction quality. Baseline and post-intervention data were collected. PICMOR contains two key features: 1) photos taken by the participants are displayed and discussed sequentially; and 2) a robotic moderator manages turn-taking to make sure that participants are allocated the same amount of time. Among the primary outcome measures, one of the subcategories of cognitive functions, verbal fluency significantly improved in the intervention group. Among the process outcome measures, a part of the subcategories of linguistic characteristics of speech, the amount of speech and richness of words, proportion of providing topics, questions, and answers in total utterances were larger for the intervention group. This study demonstrated for the first time the positive effects of a robotic social activity intervention on cognitive function in healthy older adults via RCT. The group conversation generated by PICMOR may improve participants’ verbal fluency since participants have more opportunity to provide their own topics, asking and answering questions which results in exploring larger vocabularies. PICMOR is available and accessible to community-living older adults. Clinical Trial Registration: UMIN Clinical Trials Registry, identifier UMIN000036667.

Original languageEnglish
Article number633076
JournalFrontiers in Robotics and AI
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr 12


  • cognitive decline
  • cognitive intervention
  • robot
  • social activity
  • social interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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