Children are more susceptible to influence from the robots than adults

Modern children are very easy to be influenced from the outside. Parents, raising your child, I hope he will resist this influence, but as a rule this is not so easy. Psychologists explain: if the child’s success recognized by others, the attitude towards him by his peers. The problem is compounded by the fact that the farther we move on the waves of technological progress, the more sources of influence on children. For example, according to the findings of recent research, children are easily influenced from the robots. It is reported by an article from the journal Science Robotics.

The research findings of scientists of Bielefeld University (Germany) talking about the fact that children are easily influenced by social robots – machines designed to communicate with people. These robots are increasingly becoming part of everyday life: they are used as guides in museums, as assistants in hospitals, kindergartens and schools and many other areas. In this case, scientists at the moment it is unknown what impact robots can have on humans.

To try to understand it, scientists decided to conduct the Asch experiment, aimed at demonstrating the power of conformity in groups. In the classic version of this experiment involves only people. For the participants the experiment is presented as a “vision test”, but in reality the aim of the study is to test the reaction of one person to the erroneous behavior of the majority.

As a rule, in this experiment all participants but one (someone check) are “actors”, but the subject doesn’t know about it. In the course of the experiment are two cards: one shows one vertical line on the other three. However, only one of the lines has the same length as the line on the first card. The subject’s task is to say which of three lines on the second card has the same length as the line shown in the first card. The catch is that every time this person meets the latest in the group, after “actors”. Actors in turn respond first. The first two times they give the correct answer, and the last, third time wrong. Experiments with humans have shown that this situation greatly affects the actual participants up to 75 percent of the subjects allows the same mistakes as the “actors” in reliance on false representation of the majority.

A group of researchers under the direction of Anna-Lisa Vollmer decided to repeat this experiment but has attracted not only people, but also for social robots. The experiment was divided into two parts. For one recruited 60 adult volunteers (mean age 31 years). For the second part of the experiment was invited 43 children (7 to 9 years). During the first part of the experiment people were divided into three groups: the first group answered the question with three postanime actors-people, and the other three humanoid robots. The third group was a control. The children were divided into two groups. One was a control, the other answered the question with robots.

The results of the experiment revealed that adults have not been significantly influenced by the robots. But the children in turn were more vulnerable to the influence of machines: in 74 percent of cases their answers were the same incorrect answers as robots.

Since the sample for the experiment was not very big, scientists can not give a definite answer as to which factors played an important role in the conformist children. For example, it is unclear what the children thought about robots and how they were received. Adults, in turn, could perceive robots differently, and the kids just didn’t want to contradict the machines.

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