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Affective Personalization of a Social Robot Tutor for Children’s Second Language Skills

AAAI Conferences

Though substantial research has been dedicated towards using technology to improve education, no current methods are as effective as one-on-one tutoring. A critical, though relatively understudied, aspect of effective tutoring is modulating the student's affective state throughout the tutoring session in order to maximize long-term learning gains. We developed an integrated experimental paradigm in which children play a second-language learning game on a tablet, in collaboration with a fully autonomous social robotic learning companion. As part of the system, we measured children's valence and engagement via an automatic facial expression analysis system. These signals were combined into a reward signal that fed into the robot's affective reinforcement learning algorithm. Over several sessions, the robot played the game and personalized its motivational strategies (using verbal and non-verbal actions) to each student. We evaluated this system with 34 children in preschool classrooms for a duration of two months. We saw that (1) children learned new words from the repeated tutoring sessions, (2) the affective policy personalized to students over the duration of the study, and (3) students who interacted with a robot that personalized its affective feedback strategy showed a significant increase in valence, as compared to students who interacted with a non-personalizing robot. This integrated system of tablet-based educational content, affective sensing, affective policy learning, and an autonomous social robot holds great promise for a more comprehensive approach to personalized tutoring.


Affect-Driven Modelling of Robot Personality for Collaborative Human-Robot Interactions

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Collaborative interactions require social robots to adapt to the dynamics of human affective behaviour. Yet, current approaches for affective behaviour generation in robots focus on instantaneous perception to generate a one-to-one mapping between observed human expressions and static robot actions. In this paper, we propose a novel framework for personality-driven behaviour generation in social robots. The framework consists of (i) a hybrid neural model for evaluating facial expressions and speech, forming intrinsic affective representations in the robot, (ii) an Affective Core, that employs self-organising neural models to embed robot personality traits like patience and emotional actuation, and (iii) a Reinforcement Learning model that uses the robot's affective appraisal to learn interaction behaviour. For evaluation, we conduct a user study (n = 31) where the NICO robot acts as a proposer in the Ultimatum Game. The effect of robot personality on its negotiation strategy is witnessed by participants, who rank a patient robot with high emotional actuation higher on persistence, while an inert and impatient robot higher on its generosity and altruistic behaviour.


Modeling the Experience of Emotion

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Affective computing has proven to be a viable field of research comprised of a large number of multidisciplinary researchers resulting in work that is widely published. The majority of this work consists of computational models of emotion recognition, computational modeling of causal factors of emotion and emotion expression through rendered and robotic faces. A smaller part is concerned with modeling the effects of emotion, formal modeling of cognitive appraisal theory and models of emergent emotions. Part of the motivation for affective computing as a field is to better understand emotional processes through computational modeling. One of the four major topics in affective computing is computers that have emotions (the others are recognizing, expressing and understanding emotions). A critical and neglected aspect of having emotions is the experience of emotion (Barrett, Mesquita, Ochsner, and Gross, 2007): what does the content of an emotional episode look like, how does this content change over time and when do we call the episode emotional. Few modeling efforts have these topics as primary focus. The launch of a journal on synthetic emotions should motivate research initiatives in this direction, and this research should have a measurable impact on emotion research in psychology. I show that a good way to do so is to investigate the psychological core of what an emotion is: an experience. I present ideas on how the experience of emotion could be modeled and provide evidence that several computational models of emotion are already addressing the issue.


Q-Learning with Basic Emotions

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Q-learning is a simple and powerful tool in solving dynamic problems where environments are unknown. It uses a balance of exploration and exploitation to find an optimal solution to the problem. In this paper, we propose using four basic emotions: joy, sadness, fear, and anger to influence a Qlearning agent. Simulations show that the proposed affective agent requires lesser number of steps to find the optimal path. We found when affective agent finds the optimal path, the ratio between exploration to exploitation gradually decreases, indicating lower total step count in the long run


Towards Learning How to Properly Play UNO with the iCub Robot

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

--While interacting with another person, our reactions and behavior are much affected by the emotional changes within the temporal context of the interaction. Our intrinsic affective appraisal comprising perception, self-assessment, and the affective memories with similar social experiences will drive specific, and in most cases addressed as proper, reactions within the interaction. This paper proposes the roadmap for the development of multimodal research which aims to empower a robot with the capability to provide proper social responses in a Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) scenario. Our capabilities of both perceiving and reacting to the affective behavior of other persons are fine-tuned based on the observed social response of our interaction peers. We usually perceive how others are behaving towards us by reading their affective behavior through the processing of audio/visual cues [13].