Preschoolers’ Interactions With Robots, Insects And A Dog
This research examines preschoolers’ interactions with two robotic animals, two insects, and a dog in order to explore the specific characteristics of animals that attract and engage children. The interactions between the children and these various “animals” provided information on how children perceive animals, which may be used as a platform to examine human socio-emotional and cognitive development.
In this study, researchers used both verbal and nonverbal behaviors to evaluate interactions and emotional responses elicited from preschoolers’ when interacting with robotic dogs, insects, and a real dog. These measures were sometimes incongruent, demonstrating the need to systematically evaluate children’s interactions with animals.
The majority of comments made by the children were biological; psychological terms were reserved for the dog and robotic dog only. Comments relating to living qualities showed ambiguity towards attributes that demonstrate differences between living and non-living creatures.
Measurement of non-verbal expressions toward the animals showed that the robotic mammal and the real dog were viewed more positively by the children. The insects received the most negative verbal and non-verbal responses overall.