Adding a Context: Will It Influence Human-Robot Interaction of People Living with Dementia?

  • Jorien HendrixEmail author
  • Yuan Feng
  • Marieke van Otterdijk
  • Emilia Barakova
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11876)


Improving the quality of life of people with dementia in long-term care facilities is very important and can be achieved by designing engaging activities for the residents. The introduction of social robots for people with dementia has already proven its benefits, and we expected that adding contextual cues to this interaction would enhance the positive engagement of these individuals. A total of five participants took part in a comparison study in which they engaged in a free-play session with the robot PLEO and in a free-play session with the robot PLEO within a jungle-themed context. The gaze and arm/hand behaviors of the participants were measured and were used to determine the level of their engagement. Contrary to our expectations, we found a significant decrease in engagement for the sessions where the context was added to the interaction. Our explanation of this result is that the added cues increased the threshold to interact with the robot, but the elderly were still engaged as spectators.


People with dementia Social robots Contextual design Multi-sensory stimulation Engagement Human-robot interaction 



We would like to thank all of the participants and the staff at Vitalis for being so kind and helpful. Additionally, we would like to thank M. Hendrix for their contribution to this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands

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