Measuring Child-Robot Relationships

Workshop @HRI2021, Virtual

Outcomes Resources

Interdisciplinary Research Methods for Child-Robot Relationship Formation

As the field of child-robot interaction (CRI) research matures, and in light of the recent replication crisis in psychology, it is timely to tackle several important methodological challenges. Notably, studies on child-robot relationship formation face issues regarding the conceptualization and operationalization of this complex, comprehensive construct. In addressing these challenges, increased interdisciplinary collaboration is of vital importance.

Interdisciplinary collaboration and contributions are a central aim of this workshop, such that we especially encourage, next to classic CRI user studies (i.e., quantitative empirical works), the submission of qualitative contributions as well as non-empirical works (e.g., ethical reflections on the assessment of relationship formation, design considerations). As the workshop is intended as a platform for discussion to improve research methodology and receive high-quality peer feedback, we will also accept proposals for planned studies.

Important dates
  • February 12 (extended) Submission deadline
  • February 24 Acceptance notification
  • March 1 Publication abstracts
  • March 8 Workshop


During the workshop, participants engaged in two rounds of breakout room discussions; first, to identity challenges in the design, measurement, and ethics of studies on child-robot relationship formation, followed by brainstorming of solutions. Across these discussions, several common themes arose. First, the importance of long-term interaction repeatedly emerged as one of the biggest obstacles currently facing the CRI community. Second, the need for robotic systems which are both robust to child interactions and transparent in terms of capabilities was highlighted (including the relative benefits and costs of Wizard of Oz vs autonomous systems). Third, the significance of involving children (and other relevant stakeholders) throughout the experimental process was emphasised. Finally, suggestions were made for how to facilitate multidisciplinary collaborations to improve accessibility and visibility of research findings. These discussions highlight how CRI researchers can unite to address challenges which are present throughout the field. We hope that some of the ideas fostered in this workshop will encourage both current and future CRI researchers to think critically about the design, measurement, and ethical implications of child-robot-interaction, and work together towards developing and sharing resources which can benefit the community as a whole.

Want to know more about the outcomes of this workshop? Visit the dedicated Outcomes page.


You can now register to participate with the workshop without submitting an abstract. Please note that this form is meant for the organizers to prepare the workshop. You need to register through the official HRI channels to make your registration definitive.

The workshop will contain a number of break-out sessions centered around discussing challenges and solutions. The challenges that are included are primarily those identified by the authors of the accepted abstracts. In the registration form you can submit your own challenges. This helps us to match you to people with similar challenges and to potentially identify new ones.

Accepted abstracts


Time (US-MT AM)
Time (CET)
General Introduction
08:00 - 08:40
16:00 - 16:40
Participant Introductions - Lightning Round
08:40 - 08:50
16:40 - 16:50
Coffee Break
08:50 - 09:05
16:50 - 17:05
Keynote: Dr. Iolanda Leite (incl. QA)
09:05 - 09:40
17:05 - 17:40
Break-out 1: Analysing key issues
09:40 - 10:10
17:40 - 18:10
Plenary discussion of insights: Elevator pitches
10:10 - 10:30
18:10 - 18:30
Coffee Break
10:30 - 10:45
18:30 - 18:45
Break-out 2: Brainstorming solutions
10:45 - 11:15
18:45 - 19:15
Plenary discussion of insights: Elevator pitches
11:15 - 11:40
19:15 - 19:40
Moderator Conclusions and Insights
11:40 - 11:55
19:40 - 19:55
Conclusion by organizing committee
11:55 - 12:00
19:55 - 20:00


Please read below what you need to know before you submit your extended abstract.


Potential topics for submission include, but are not limited to:

  • Quantitative and/or qualitative research methodology to assess child-robot relationship formation;
  • Theoretical reflections on the conceptualization and/or operationalization of relationship formation;
  • Ethical reflections on settings and methods in/by which to assess child-robot relationship formation;
  • Design and technical implementation (WoZ, autonomous, or semi-autonomous) of robot systems and CRI scenarios.


Participants are invited to submit a 2-page extended abstract (following the ACM/IEEE formatting guidelines) on the central topic of child-robot relationship formation, including a reflection on key challenges in assessing the construct (either from an empirical or theoretical/ethical viewpoint). Accepted submissions will be published in advance on the workshop website, which participants will be asked to read and prepare questions / discussion points for the breakout sessions.

During workshop

This half-day workshop aims to bring together CRI researchers and stakeholders across disciplines to discuss qualitative and quantitative methods that can be used to capture concepts relevant to the process of child-robot relationship formation. In addition, key issues in the field will be identified and discussed from an interdisciplinary perspective, and potential solutions will be brainstormed.


Don't forget to register for the workshop at the HRI registration page. If your paper is accepted you need this registration, at least for the workshop day(s), to be able to participate.

Want to join the workshop?

Date: March 8th (morning)

Registration is closed.

Invited Speakers

We are very happy to announce that during the workshop, we will have a keynote by Iolanda Leite. Mark Neerincx, Patrícia Alves-Oliveira, and Koen Hindriks will lead the discussions as moderators.

Organizing Committee

Rebecca Stower

Jacobs University, DE

Mike Ligthart

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NL

Caroline van Straten

University of Amsterdam, NL

Natalia Calvo-Barajas

Uppsala University, SE

Ella Velner

University of Twente, NL

Thomas Beelen

University of Twente, NL

Flag of the European Union This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 765955 animatas-logo


If you have any questions, or additions to the resources page, send us an email on
You can also send a message via email to join our CRI Workshop Slack