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Is AIBO Real? Understanding Children’s Beliefs About and Behavioral Interactions with Anthropomorphic Toys Article

, , Michigan State University, United States

Journal of Interactive Learning Research Volume 20, Number 4, ISSN 1093-023X Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA

Abstract

Interactive toys for children are becoming more popular for both play and educational purposes, yet an understanding of the dependent measures used to study such interactions has not yet been explored. This study takes advantage of the idea that robotic animals exhibit both living and pretend qualities, and are therefore ideal for studying children’s understanding of what it means to be real and how this belief affects behavior. A total of 25 children, ranging from three to eight years old, in 12 play sessions were interviewed about what makes something real. The same children were observed while playing with three different toys with different levels of interactivity. Results found that even though children said the toys were not real, they treated the more interactive toys as if the toys had real and intentional qualities. Potential reasons for such behavior are discussed.

Citation

Francis, A. & Mishra, P. (2009). Is AIBO Real? Understanding Children’s Beliefs About and Behavioral Interactions with Anthropomorphic Toys. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 20(4), 405-422. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

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