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Dr Lola Canamero - University Alliance. Hertfordshire, England, GB

Dr Lola Canamero

Reader in Adaptive Systems and Head of the Embodied Emotion Cognition and (inter-) action Lab | University of Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire, England, UNITED KINGDOM

Lola’s work explores the emotions between humans and robots, particularly when robots are used to provide therapy or learning opportunities.

Areas of Expertise (4)

Human-Robot Interaction

Artificial Intelligence


Robots as Therapy


Dr Lola Canamero is Reader in Adaptive Systems and Head of the Embodied Emotion Cognition and (inter-) action Lab (EECAIA) at the University of Hertfordshire. She works with robots to understand human behaviour and to examine the emotions between humans and robots when they are being used to provide therapy or as learning opportunities. She focuses on motivated behaviour and social interaction, with particular emphasis on the role that emotional phenomena and their expression play in them. Projects include modelling obsessive-compulsive disorder and mental disorders through robots, and supporting children with diabetes through encouragement of care for an autonomous robot toddler who also “has” (robot) diabetes.

After originally studying Philosophy, Lola turned to AI first and then to embodied cognitive and affective robotics as a way of exploring questions such as: What are the key features of human and animal emotions that can be shared by autonomous robots in similar environments?; How do emotions affect behaviour and cognition?; How did emotions evolve?; How can emotions help robots to make “good” decisions?; How can emotions make robots interact with people better?

Media Mentions (5)

Why Does This Robot Get ‘Sick’ on Purpose?

PC Mag  online


As a philosophy student, Dr. Lola Cañamero was fascinated by how humans learn and understand things about the world. When she studied artificial intelligence as part of her curriculum, she saw parallels between the two disciplines, and looked to computers and robots to tell that story.

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Meet the compulsive robot who could help us treat OCD better

New Scientist  online


A robot that mimics the behaviours of people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) could help us understand what drives the condition and even improve how we treat it.

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Artificial intelligence and emotions: a robot love?

Le Monde  online


“Le Monde” is organizing as part of the Monde Festival a meeting on the links between humans and robots with social robotics specialists Véronique Aubergé, Lola Cañamero and Raja Chatila. The meeting will take place on Sunday October 7, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Opéra Bastille (studio).

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Robot with diabetes developed in Hertfordshire

BBC  online


Dr Lola Canamero and Dr Matthew Lewis designed and wrote the £5,800 robot's character.

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How toys will shape future robots

BBC Future  online


Lola Canamero, a researcher in adaptive intelligent behaviour at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, agrees that children are generally very willing to initially suspend their disbelief when greeting a robot. However, that suspension of disbelief may not last very long unless the variety of interactions can continue to engage the child.

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Articles (5)

Modelling the Social Buffering Hypothesis in an Artificial Life Environment

Artificial Life Conference Proceedings

2020 In social species, individuals who form social bonds have been found to live longer, healthier lives. One hypothesised reason for this effect is that social support, mediated by oxytocin, “buffers” responses to stress in a number of ways, and is considered an important process of adaptation that facilitates long-term wellbeing in changing, stressful conditions.

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Does Expression of Grounded Affect in a Hexapod Robot Elicit More Prosocial Responses?

UKRAS20 Conference:“Robots into the real world” Proceedings

2020 We consider how non-humanoid robots can communicate their affective state via bodily forms of communication, and the extent to which this can influence human response. We propose a simple model of grounded affect and kinesic expression and outline two experiments (N=9 and N=180) in which participants were asked to watch expressive and non-expressive hexapod robots perform different ‘scenes’.

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A Socially Adaptable Framework for Human-Robot Interaction

arXiv preprint arXiv:2003.11410

2020 In our everyday lives we are accustomed to partake in complex, personalized, adaptive interactions with our peers. For a social robot to be able to recreate this same kind of rich, human-like interaction, it should be aware of our needs and affective states and be capable of continuously adapting its behavior to them.

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Eager to Learn vs. Quick to Complain? How a socially adaptive robot architecture performs with different robot personalities

2019 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics

2019 A social robot that is aware of our needs and continuously adapts its behaviour to them has the potential of creating a complex, personalized, human-like interaction of the kind we are used to have with our peers in our everyday lives.

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A Robot Model of Stress-Induced Compulsive Behavior

2019 8th International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII)

2019 Stress is one of the potential mechanisms underlying compulsive behavior in obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders. In this paper, we present a robot model and experiments investigating the interactions between internally-and externally-induced stress and compulsive behavior.

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