Humanoid robotics and computer avatars could help treat social disorders

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A collaborative research team has found humanoid robotics and computer avatars could help rehabilitate people suffering from social disorders such as schizophrenia or social phobia. It is thanks to the theory of similarity, which suggests that it is easier to interact socially with someone who looks, behaves or moves like us.

Researchers from the University of Bristol, in collaboration with colleagues at the Universities of Exeter, Montpellier and Naples Federico II, have developed a system to enable a robot or computer avatar to interact with a patient whilst playing a version of the mirror game, in which two players try to copy each other’s motion whilst playing with coloured balls that can move horizontally on a string.

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