Social Behaviour of Dogs Encountering AIBO, an Animal-Like Robot in a Neutral and in a Feeding Situation

TitleSocial Behaviour of Dogs Encountering AIBO, an Animal-Like Robot in a Neutral and in a Feeding Situation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsKubinyi E, Miklósi Ádám, Kaplan F, Gácsi M, Topál J, Csányi V
JournalBehavioural Processes
Volume65
Pagination231-239
AbstractThe use of animal-like autonomous robots might offer new possibilities in the study of animal interactions, if the subject recognises it as a social partner. In this paper we investigate whether AIBO, a dog-like robot of the Sony Corp. can be used for this purpose. Twenty-four adult and sixteen 4–5 months old pet dogs were tested in two situations where subjects encountered one of four different test-partners: (1) a remote controlled car; (2) an AIBO robot; (3) AIBO with a puppy-scented furry cover; and (4) a 2-month-old puppy. In the neutral situation the dog could interact freely with one of the partners for 1 min in a closed arena in the presence of its owner. In the feeding situation the encounters were started while the dog was eating food. Our results show that age and context influence the social behaviour of dogs. Further, we have found that although both age groups differentiated the living and non-living test-partners for some extent, the furry AIBO evoked significantly increased responses in comparison to the car. These experiments show the first steps towards the application of robots in behavioural studies, notwithstanding that at present AIBO’s limited ability to move constrains its effectiveness as social partner for dogs.
Posted by mickwalters on Thursday, 19 February, 2009 /

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