The Physical Presence of a Robot Tutor Increases Cognitive Learning Gains


We present the results of a 100 participant study on the role of a robot's physical presence in a robot tutoring task. Participants were asked to solve a set of puzzles while being provided occasional gameplay advice by a robot tutor. Each participant was assigned one of five conditions: (1) no advice, (2) robot providing randomized advice, (3) voice of the robot providing personalized advice, (4) video representation of the robot providing personalized advice, or (5) physically-present robot providing personalized advice. We assess the tutor's effectiveness by the time it takes participants to complete the puzzles. Participants in the robot providing personalized advice group solved most puzzles faster on average and improved their same-puzzle solving time significantly more than participants in any other group. Our study is the first to assess the effect of the physical presence of a robot in an automated tutoring interaction. We conclude that physical embodiment can produce measurable learning gains.

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