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Brain Response to a Humanoid Robot in Areas Implicated in the Perception of Human Emotional Gestures

Chaminade, T; Zecca, M; Blakemore, SJ; Takanishi, A; Frith, CD; Micera, S; Dario, P; ... Umilta, MA; + view all (2010) Brain Response to a Humanoid Robot in Areas Implicated in the Perception of Human Emotional Gestures. PLOS ONE , 5 (7) , Article e11577. 10.1371/journal.pone.0011577. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: The humanoid robot WE4-RII was designed to express human emotions in order to improve human-robot interaction. We can read the emotions depicted in its gestures, yet might utilize different neural processes than those used for reading the emotions in human agents.Methodology: Here, fMRI was used to assess how brain areas activated by the perception of human basic emotions (facial expression of Anger, Joy, Disgust) and silent speech respond to a humanoid robot impersonating the same emotions, while participants were instructed to attend either to the emotion or to the motion depicted.Principal Findings: Increased responses to robot compared to human stimuli in the occipital and posterior temporal cortices suggest additional visual processing when perceiving a mechanical anthropomorphic agent. In contrast, activity in cortical areas endowed with mirror properties, like left Broca's area for the perception of speech, and in the processing of emotions like the left anterior insula for the perception of disgust and the orbitofrontal cortex for the perception of anger, is reduced for robot stimuli, suggesting lesser resonance with the mechanical agent. Finally, instructions to explicitly attend to the emotion significantly increased response to robot, but not human facial expressions in the anterior part of the left inferior frontal gyrus, a neural marker of motor resonance.Conclusions: Motor resonance towards a humanoid robot, but not a human, display of facial emotion is increased when attention is directed towards judging emotions.Significance: Artificial agents can be used to assess how factors like anthropomorphism affect neural response to the perception of human actions.

Type: Article
Title: Brain Response to a Humanoid Robot in Areas Implicated in the Perception of Human Emotional Gestures
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011577
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0011577
Language: English
Additional information: © 2010 Chaminade et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. TC was supported by a Wellcome Trust post-doctoral fellowship and an ANR grant (SCAD # ANR-09-BLAN-0405-02). SJB is supported by a Royal Society Research Fellowship. CDF is supported by the Wellcome Trust and the Danish National Research Foundation. PD, VG, SM, GR, MAU, and MZ were supported by the European Union grant NEUROBOTICS. VG was also supported by the EU grants NESTCOM and DISCOS. MZ was partially supported by the ASMeW Priority Research C Grant #11, and by the JSPS Grant-in-aid for Scientific Research #19700389. Partial support was provided by a Grant-in-Aid for the WABOT-HOUSE Project by Gifu Prefecture and by Waseda University Grant for Special Research Projects (No. 266740). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Keywords: PROBABILISTIC CYTOARCHITECTONIC MAPS, HUMAN PREMOTOR CORTEX, MIRROR-NEURON SYSTEM, FUSIFORM FACE AREA, BIOLOGICAL MOTION, ACTION REPRESENTATION, SPEECH-PERCEPTION, RECOGNITION, MOTOR, IMITATION
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/168863
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