Exploring behaviours perceived as important for human—dog bonding and their translation to a robotic platform

Riddoch, K. A., Hawkins, R. D. and Cross, E. S. (2022) Exploring behaviours perceived as important for human—dog bonding and their translation to a robotic platform. PLoS ONE, 17(9), e0274353. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0274353) (PMID:36170337) (PMCID:PMC9518860)

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To facilitate long-term engagement with social robots, emerging evidence suggests that modelling robots on social animals with whom many people form enduring social bonds–specifically, pet dogs–may be useful. However, scientific understanding of the features of pet dogs that are important for establishing and maintaining social bonds remains limited to broad qualities that are liked, as opposed to specific behaviours. To better understand dog behaviours that are perceived as important for facilitating social bonds between owner and pet, we surveyed current dog owners (n = 153) with open-ended questions about their dogs’ behaviours. Thematic analysis identified 7 categories of behaviours perceived as important to human—dog bonding, including: 1) attunement, 2) communication, 3) consistency and predictability, 4) physical affection, 5) positivity and enthusiasm, 6) proximity, and 7) shared activities. We consider the feasibility of translating these behaviours into a social robotic platform, and signpost potential barriers moving forward. In addition to providing insight into important behaviours for human—dog bonding, this work provides a springboard for those hoping to implement dog behaviours into animal-like artificial agents designed for social roles.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Riddoch, Katie and Cross, Professor Emily
Creator Roles:
Riddoch, K. A.Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Visualization, Writing – original draft
Cross, E. S.Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Project administration, Supervision, Validation, Visualization, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Riddoch, K. A., Hawkins, R. D., and Cross, E. S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 Riddoch et al.
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 17(9): e0274353
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
303930SOCIAL ROBOTSEmily CrossEuropean Research Council (ERC)677270Centre for Neuroscience
304215Philip Leverhulme Prize - ECEmily CrossLeverhulme Trust (LEVERHUL)PLP-2018-152Centre for Neuroscience
303166Scottish Graduate School Science Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)Mary Beth KneafseyEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/P000681/1SS - Academic & Student Administration