Towards a Robot Computational Model to Preserve Dignity in Stigmatizing Patient-Caregiver Relationships
Pettinati, Michael J.
Arkin, Ronald C.
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Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients with an expressive mask are particularly vulnerable to stigmatization during interactions with their caregivers due to their inability to express affect through nonverbal channels. Our approach to uphold PD patient dignity is through the use of an ethical robot that mediates patient shame when it recognizes norm violations in the patient-caregiver interaction. This paper presents the basis for a computational model tasked with computing patient shame and the empathetic response of a caregiver during “empathetic opportunities” in their interaction. A PD patient is liable to suffer indignity when there is a substantial difference between his experienced shame and the empathy shown by the caregiver. When this difference falls outside of acceptable set bounds (norms), the robotic agent will act using subtle, nonverbal cues to guide the relationship back within these bounds, preserving patient dignity.