Gallamine writes "Many people claim that pets are good for their owners. But, what about robot pets? Some scientists at the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue's Veterinary school say yes, robot pets can benefit humans. Petting an AIBO caused the human stress hormone cortisol to decrease in patients, much like a real dog, although the effects weren't as pronounced. Also, AIBOs sent to nursing homes caused the residents to be less depressed and lonely. Similar research is being done by Dr. Dr. Takanori Shibata with his robotic seal named Pero."