A GENERATING PROCESS OF "COMMUNICATION": A CASE OF ROBOT ASSISTED ACTIVITY FOR ELDERLY CLIENTS USING PET-TYPE ROBOT
 
Kato, K. and Atsumi, T., Osaka University, and Yamori, K., Nara University, Japan
 
The present study investigated a case of Robot Assisted Therapy (RAA) for elderly clients at a geriatric institute from the perspective of generating process of communication. Communication was defined not as simple transmission of information, but as the process generating norm, atmosphere and tacit premises in a group (Sugiman, 2001). Recently, the care activities using some pet-type are applied for various clients (e.g., Yokoyama, et al., 2001; Hamada, et al., 2000). These trials follow the way of Animal Assisted Therapy, and tend to examine effects on individual clients. However, it is thought that RAA influences not only the clients, but also the collectivity (Sugiman, 2001) in which RAA is conducted. From the perspective of group dynamics, RAA is generating process of communication. We conducted participant observation to an RAA for elderly clients in a geriatric institute, and examined communication during the session. We identified 5 specific behaviors of elderly participants (Atsumi, et al., 2001). Participants as a whole (e.g., clients, staff members, and researchers) generated some new tacit premises concerned with RAA through their behaviors, looks, verbal and non-verbal interaction. It was, here, concluded that participants generated communication in RAA session. This case well exemplified the theory of communication from the viewpoint of group dynamics, and contributed to the development of the theory.