Several studies have shown that the human gaze, but not the robot gaze, has significant effects on infant social cognition and facilitate social engagement. The present study investigates early understanding of the referential nature of gaze by comparing—through the eye‐tracking technique— infants’ response to human and robot’s gaze. Data were acquired on thirty‐two 17‐month‐old infants, watching four video clips, where either a human or a humanoid robot performed an action on a target. The agent’s gaze was either turned to the target (congruent) or opposite to it (incongruent). The results generally showed that, independent of the agent, the infants attended longer at the face area compared to the hand and target. Additionally, the effect of referential gaze on infants’ attention to the target was greater when infants watched the human compared to the robot’s action. These results suggest the presence, in infants, of two distinct levels of gaze‐following mechanisms: one recognizing the other as a potential interactive partner, the second recognizing partner’s agency. In this study, infants recognized the robot as a potential interactive partner, whereas ascribed agency more readily to the human, thus suggesting that the process of generalizability of gazing behaviour to non‐humans is not immediate.

Manzi, F., Ishikawa, M., Di Dio, C., Itakura, S., Kanda, T., Ishiguro, H., Massaro, D., Marchetti, A., The understanding of congruent and incongruent referentialgaze in 17‐month‐old infants:an eye‐tracking study comparing human and robot, <<SCIENTIFIC REPORTS>>, 2020; 10 (11918): 1-10 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/160060]

The understanding of congruent and incongruent referential gaze in 17‐month‐old infants: an eye‐tracking study comparing human and robot

Manzi, Federico
Primo
;
Di Dio, Cinzia;Massaro, Davide
Penultimo
;
Marchetti, Antonella
Ultimo
2020

Abstract

Several studies have shown that the human gaze, but not the robot gaze, has significant effects on infant social cognition and facilitate social engagement. The present study investigates early understanding of the referential nature of gaze by comparing—through the eye‐tracking technique— infants’ response to human and robot’s gaze. Data were acquired on thirty‐two 17‐month‐old infants, watching four video clips, where either a human or a humanoid robot performed an action on a target. The agent’s gaze was either turned to the target (congruent) or opposite to it (incongruent). The results generally showed that, independent of the agent, the infants attended longer at the face area compared to the hand and target. Additionally, the effect of referential gaze on infants’ attention to the target was greater when infants watched the human compared to the robot’s action. These results suggest the presence, in infants, of two distinct levels of gaze‐following mechanisms: one recognizing the other as a potential interactive partner, the second recognizing partner’s agency. In this study, infants recognized the robot as a potential interactive partner, whereas ascribed agency more readily to the human, thus suggesting that the process of generalizability of gazing behaviour to non‐humans is not immediate.
Inglese
Manzi, F., Ishikawa, M., Di Dio, C., Itakura, S., Kanda, T., Ishiguro, H., Massaro, D., Marchetti, A., The understanding of congruent and incongruent referentialgaze in 17‐month‐old infants:an eye‐tracking study comparing human and robot, <<SCIENTIFIC REPORTS>>, 2020; 10 (11918): 1-10 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/160060]
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