Entrainment in social robots: the influence of prosodic entrainment by second language tutor robots on student engagement
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This thesis investigates the influence of prosodic entrainment by a social robot on student engagement in a second language learning setting. Two approaches are adopted to analyze engagement, namely by means of speech and behavior analysis. Speech analysis investigates pitch range and utterance duration, and behavior analysis is concerned with eye gaze and facial expressions. The results indicate that the entrainment group displays a significantly higher percentage of eye gaze towards robot, hinting at increased behavioral engagement compared to the control group. For the remaining three features, no significant difference between the groups was found. However, the absolute values of the features are generally higher in the entrainment group. Taking into account the small sample size, the results of this study cautiously suggest that entrainment in social robots can enhance student engagement.