Augmented Reality, Empathy, Early School-age Children, Human-Computer Interaction, Role-playing
Abstract:In this paper, we present an AR Petite Theater, a story book that enables role-play using augmented reality (AR) technology. It provides an opportunity for children to learn the ability of empathy through interactive reading experience by thinking and speaking in accordance with the character's role of the story. In general, empathy is one of most important elements for children to make friends at school and to expand their social relations. In particular, it is crucial for early school-age children who have difficulties in getting along with friends due to their egocentric perspective. Through the experiment with 24 six-year-old children, we measured children's role-playing participation and perspective taking state. As a result, more empathic behaviors were revealed in the AR group. Children in the AR condition were more actively involved in role-playing and showed less unrelated perspectives than children in the non-AR condition. Therefore, we verified that AR Petite Theater had the potential of expanding children's ability to empathize with others.