Presenter Information

Stephen F. CookeFollow

Presentation Type

Poster

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Rachel Severson

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Psychology

Abstract

Are robots animate or inanimate?

Children’s pronoun use provides insight into categorization challenge

Stephen Cooke & Rachel L. Severson

University of Montana

Children attribute an array of animate characteristics to robots (e.g., emotions, mental states, sociality, and moral standing), yet at the same time understand them as inanimates (e.g., non-biological). However, much of the existing research has relied upon explicit measures (children’s self-report), rather than implicit or behavioral measures. Given that children attribute a unique constellation of animate and inanimate characteristics to robot (new ontological category hypothesis), it is critical to evaluate children’s conceptions of robots using converging measures (implicit and explicit). Thus, the purpose of the current research was to assess children’s categorical understanding of a robot using an implicit measure of pronoun use.

Based on previous research, we predicted (1) children will use more gendered pronouns (male-gendered, in particular) with the robot compared to the puppet, and (2) researcher’s pronoun use will influence participant’s pronoun use more for the robot than the puppet.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 27th, 3:00 PM Apr 27th, 4:00 PM

Are Robots Animate or Inanimate? Children's pronoun use provides insight to categorization challenge

UC South Ballroom

Are robots animate or inanimate?

Children’s pronoun use provides insight into categorization challenge

Stephen Cooke & Rachel L. Severson

University of Montana

Children attribute an array of animate characteristics to robots (e.g., emotions, mental states, sociality, and moral standing), yet at the same time understand them as inanimates (e.g., non-biological). However, much of the existing research has relied upon explicit measures (children’s self-report), rather than implicit or behavioral measures. Given that children attribute a unique constellation of animate and inanimate characteristics to robot (new ontological category hypothesis), it is critical to evaluate children’s conceptions of robots using converging measures (implicit and explicit). Thus, the purpose of the current research was to assess children’s categorical understanding of a robot using an implicit measure of pronoun use.

Based on previous research, we predicted (1) children will use more gendered pronouns (male-gendered, in particular) with the robot compared to the puppet, and (2) researcher’s pronoun use will influence participant’s pronoun use more for the robot than the puppet.