Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Robot Confidant

Children may be more willing to answer questions about mental health when posed by a robot

04 October 2022

Robot Confidant

A person described as robotic is unlikely to be approachable and easy to talk to. An actual robot, however, is both of those things according to scientists studying child psychology. In a small-scale study of fewer than thirty children, this cute little robot (pictured) was programmed to ask a series of mental health questions. Each child was alone with the robot and could answer the questions verbally or could interact with the robot via sensors in its hands and feet – the researchers and a parent or guardian observed from a separate room. In many cases the kids were more willing to share information with the robot than with an adult or via a questionnaire, perhaps because they saw the robot as toy-like and unintimidating. Whatever the reason, the finding suggests such robots, while not replacing trained psychotherapists, could be useful tools for helping children to open up and feel comfortable.

Written by Ruth Williams

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.