Disney Research


Using Haptic Feedback to Enrich Story Listening for Young Children-Image

Research on children’s cognitive development has demonstrated the positive e ffects of listening to stories. However, traditional story listening is losing its appeal to other entertainment technology such as video games. Hence, there is growing interest in studying the influence of ancillary media such as sound and interactive e ffects, although haptic sensory input has remained relatively unexploited. We implemented a haptic vest that generates vibrotactile stimulation related to story content to augment story listening. Study 1 showed that 5- and 6-year olds, but not 4-year olds, could associate haptic e ffects with semantic interpretations. In Study 2, children listened to stories containing elements with or without haptic eff ects. The 5- and 6-year olds showed better comprehension of the haptically-signaled content in the higher-performance story. The results provide initial evidence that haptic e ffects can potentially enhance the reading/listening experience of children beyond 4 years.

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