Educational Robotics intervention on Executive Functions in preschool children: A pilot study

Maria Chiara Di Lieto, Emanuela Inguaggiato, Emanuela Castro, Francesca Cecchi, Giovanni Cioni, Marta Dell'Omo, Cecilia Laschi, Chiara Pecini, Giacomo Santerini, Giuseppina Sgandurra, Paolo Dario

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Educational Robotics (ER) is known for its effects on academic achievement and scientific concepts. Few studies have demonstrated ER effects on cognitive skills and no evidence exists on the role of ER in promoting Executive Functions, key elements in early school readiness and cognitive milestone achievements. The aim of this study was to evaluate, for the first time, the short-term effects in Preschool children of an intensive ER training on Executive Functions. A sample of 12 children (age range: 5–6 years) took part to an intensive ER-Lab for 13 sessions (6 weeks) by using a bee-shaped robot, called Bee-Bot®. The children were tested three times (baseline, pre and post ER-Lab) with a neuropsychological battery. The main finding was a significant improvement in both visuo-spatial working memory and inhibition skills after the ER-Lab period, with a significant effect also on robot programming skills. These data provide scientific support to the hypothesis that ER is suitable in progressively improving abilities in planning and controlling complex tasks in early childhood, fostering executive functions development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-23
Number of pages8
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Education
  • Educational Robotics
  • Evaluation methodologies
  • Interactive learning environments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)


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