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ERIC Number: EJ799501
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 58
ISSN: ISSN-1050-8406
Searching for Signs of Intelligent Life: An Investigation of Young Children's Beliefs about Robot Intelligence
Bernstein, Debra; Crowley, Kevin
Journal of the Learning Sciences, v17 n2 p225-247 Apr 2008
Children's worlds are increasingly populated by intelligent technologies. This has raised a number of questions about the ways in which technology can change children's ideas about important concepts, like what it means to be alive or smart. In this study, we examined the impact of experience with intelligent technologies on children's ideas about robot intelligence. A total of 60 children aged 4 through 7 were asked to identify the intellectual, psychological, and biological characteristics of 8 entities that differed in terms of their life status and intellectual capabilities. Results indicated that as children gained experience in this domain, they began to differentiate robots from other familiar entities. This differentiation was indicated by a unique pattern of responses about the intellectual and psychological characteristics of robots. These findings suggest that experience may yield a more highly developed viewpoint that reflects an appreciation of the distinctions between biological life, machines, and artificially intelligent technologies. People who grew up in the world of the mechanical are more comfortable with a definition of what is alive that excludes all but the biological and resist shifting definitions of aliveness.... Children who have grown up with computational objects don't experience that dichotomy. They turn the dichotomy into a menu and cycle through its choices. (Turkle, 1999, p. 552) (Contains 2 figures, 3 tables and 8 footnotes.)
Lawrence Erlbaum. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A