You, robot? The role of anthropomorphic emotion attributions in children's sharing with a robot
Number of pages
SourceInternational Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, 30, (2021), article 100319
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI CW
International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction
SubjectCommunication and Media
Sharing helps children form and maintain relationships with other children. Yet, children born today interact not only with other children, but increasingly with robots as well. Little is known on whether and how children treat robots as recipients of prosocial acts. We thus investigated children's sharing behavior towards robots. Specifically, we assessed the effect of anthropomorphic appearance and affective state attributions. Children (4-9 years old; n = 120) were introduced to robots that varied in the extent to which they looked human-like. Children's perceptions of the robots' affective states were manipulated by explicitly demonstrating one robot as having feelings and the other one not. Subsequently, children's sharing behavior towards and feelings about sharing with these robots were measured. Results indicate that there was no effect of anthropomorphic appearance on sharing behavior. However, importantly, children in both age groups shared more resources with a robot that they attributed with affective states, and expressed more positive emotional judgments about sharing with that robot as well. An exploratory mediation analysis further revealed that children's positive feelings about sharing guided their actual sharing behavior with robots. In sum, children show more pro-social behavior when they believe a robot can feel.
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- Faculty of Social Sciences 
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