Social training of autistic children with interactive intelligent agents

E.I. Barakova, L.M.G. Feijs, J.C.C. Gillesen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

The ability of autistic children to learn by applying logical rules has been used widely in behavioral therapies for social training. We propose to teach social skills to autistic children through games that simultaneously stimulate social behavior and include recognition of elements of social interaction. For this purpose we created a multi-agent platform of interactive blocks, and we created appropriate games that require shared activities leading to a common goal. The games included perceiving and understanding elements of social behavior that non-autistic children can recognize. We argue that the importance of elements of social interaction such as perceiving interaction behaviors and assigning metaphoric meanings has been overlooked, and that they are very important in the social training of autistic children. Two games were compared by testing them with users. The first game focused only on the interaction between the agents and the other combined interaction between the agents and metaphoric meanings that are assigned to them. The results show that most of the children recognized the patterns of interaction as well as the metaphors when they were demonstrated through embodied agents and were included within games having features that engage the interest of this user group. The results also show the potential of the platform and the games to influence the social behavior of the children positively
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-34
JournalJournal of Integrative Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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