Socially grounded game strategy enhances bonding and perceived smartness of a humanoid robot

E.I. Barakova, M. de Haas, W.J.P. Kuijpers, N. Irigoyen Perdiguero, A. Betancourt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
131 Downloads (Pure)


In search for better technological solutions for education, we adapted a principle from economic game theory, namely that giving a help will promote collaboration and eventually long-term relations between a robot and a child. This principle has been shown to be effective in games between humans and between humans and computer agents. We compared the social and cognitive engagement of children when playing checkers game combined with a social strategy against a robot or against a computer. We found that by combining the social and game strategy the children (average age of 8.3 years) had more empathy and social engagement with the robot since the children did not want to necessarily win against it. This finding is promising for using social strategies for the creation of long-term relations between robots and children and making educational tasks more engaging. An additional outcome of the study was the significant difference in the perception of the children about the difficulty of the game – the game with the robot was seen as more challenging and the robot – as a smarter opponent. This finding might be due to the higher perceived or expected intelligence from the robot, or because of the higher complexity of seeing patterns in three-dimensional world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-98
Number of pages18
JournalConnection Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018


  • Economic game strategies for robots; engagement robot/computer; long-term relations with robots; combining social and game strategy
  • combining social and game strategy
  • long-term relations with robots
  • Economic game strategies for robots
  • engagement robot/computer


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