Identifying Interaction Patterns of Tangible Co-Adaptations in Human-Robot Team Behaviors

Emma M. van Zoelen*, Karel van den Bosch, Matthias Rauterberg, Emilia Barakova, Mark Neerincx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


As robots become more ubiquitous, they will increasingly need to behave as our team partners and smoothly adapt to the (adaptive) human team behaviors to establish successful patterns of collaboration over time. A substantial amount of adaptations present themselves through subtle and unconscious interactions, which are difficult to observe. Our research aims to bring about awareness of co-adaptation that enables team learning. This paper presents an experimental paradigm that uses a physical human-robot collaborative task environment to explore emergent human-robot co-adaptions and derive the interaction patterns (i.e., the targeted awareness of co-adaptation). The paradigm provides a tangible human-robot interaction (i.e., a leash) that facilitates the expression of unconscious adaptations, such as “leading” (e.g., pulling the leash) and “following” (e.g., letting go of the leash) in a search-and-navigation task. The task was executed by 18 participants, after which we systematically annotated videos of their behavior. We discovered that their interactions could be described by four types of adaptive interactions: stable situations, sudden adaptations, gradual adaptations and active negotiations. From these types of interactions we have created a language of interaction patterns that can be used to describe tacit co-adaptation in human-robot collaborative contexts. This language can be used to enable communication between collaborating humans and robots in future studies, to let them share what they learned and support them in becoming aware of their implicit adaptations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number645545
Number of pages16
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • co-adaptation
  • embodiment
  • emergent interactions
  • human-robot collaboration
  • human-robot team
  • interaction patterns


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