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Title: Children's perception and interpretation of robots and robot behaviour
Author: Bhamjee, Sajida
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 9176
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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The world of robotics, like that of all technology is changing rapidly (Melson, et al., 2009). As part of an inter-disciplinary project investigating the emergence of artificial culture in robot societies, this study set out to examine children’s perception of robots and interpretation of robot behaviour. This thesis is situated in an interdisciplinary field of human–robot interactions, drawing on research from the disciplines of sociology and psychology as well as the fields of engineering and ethics. The study was divided into four phases: phase one involved children from two primary schools drawing a picture and writing a story about their robot. In phase two, children observed e-puck robots interacting. Children were asked questions regarding the function and purpose of the robots’ actions. Phase three entailed data collection at a public event: Manchester Science Festival. Three activities at the festival: ‘XRay Art Under Your Skin’, ‘Swarm Robots’ and ‘Build-a-Bugbot’ formed the focus of this phase. In the first activity, children were asked to draw the components of a robot and were then asked questions about their drawings. During the second exercise, children’s comments were noted as they watched e-puck robot demonstrations. In the third exercise, children were shown images and asked whether these images were a robot or a ‘no-bot’. They were then prompted to provide explanations for their answers. Phase 4 of the research involved children identifying patterns of behaviour amongst e-pucks. This phase of the project was undertaken as a pilot for the ‘open science’ approach to research to be used by the wider project within which this PhD was nested. Consistent with existing literature, children endowed robots with animate and inanimate characteristics holding multiple understandings of robots simultaneously. The notion of control appeared to be important in children’s conception of animacy. The results indicated children’s perceptions of the location of the locus of control plays an important role in whether they view robots as autonomous agents or controllable entities. The ways in which children perceive robots and robot behaviour, in particular the ways in which children give meaning to robots and robot behaviour will potentially come to characterise a particular generation. Therefore, research should not only concentrate on the impact of these technologies on children but should focus on capturing children’s perceptions and viewpoints to better understand the impact of the changing technological world on the lives of children.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology