Self-other's perspective taking: the use of therapeutic robot companions as social agents for reducing pain and anxiety in pediatric patients

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2013 Jun;16(6):436-41. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0513. Epub 2013 Mar 18.


Abstract The study examined whether complementary therapy using robotic companions as social agents reduced pain and emotional anxiety in pediatric patients. A total of 18 patients, aged 6-16, and 18 parents participated in the study. The study explored whether the use of robotic animals as companion animals could reduce pain and emotional anxiety in patients and their parents. The study identified when robot-assisted therapy was most effective (alone or together with parent). The study hypothesized that engaging in robot-assisted therapy together would enhance parents' perspective taking, thereby triggering strong empathic resonance and parental modeling to bolster the children's coping skills. The robotic companion was more successful in decreasing pain and negative emotional traits when children and parents were engaged together with the robotic companion. The parent's ability to acknowledge the patient's pain accurately through robot-assisted therapy seemed to reduce pain and emotional anxiety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Child
  • Emotions
  • Empathy
  • Female
  • Friends / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Robotics*