Examples of Some of Our Studies
Do children always trust confident individuals? Not when it comes to moral deliberations.
How Children Think About Robots!
One way that children organize the world is into living and non-living things. But robots seem to straddle the boundaries – they are pieces of technology, but they also interact as if they have intentions and feelings. How do children understand such personified technologies — as living things, non-living things, or something in-between? In a series of studies, we have looked at how children and adolescents think about and interact with real robots.
Severson, R. L., & Carlson, S. M. (2010). Behaving as or behaving as if? Children's conceptions of personified robots and the emergence of a new ontological category. Neural Networks (Special Issue on Social Cognition: From Babies to Robots), 23, 1099-1103.
Kahn, P. H., Jr., Kanda, T., Ishiguro, H., Freier, N. G., Severson, R. L., Gill, B. T., Ruckert, J. H., & Shen, S. (2012). “Robovie, you’ll have to go into the closet now”: Children’s social and moral relationships with a humanoid robot. Developmental Psychology, 48, 303-314.
Kahn, P. H., Jr., Severson, R. L., & Ruckert, J. H. (2009). The human relationship with nature and technological nature. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18, 37-42.
Individual Differences in Children’s Anthropomorphic Beliefs
We name our cars, talk to our pets, and grumble at our sluggish computers! People of all ages vary widely in their tendency to attribute internal states – like emotions, thoughts, consciousness, and intentions – to animals, inanimate nature, and technology. In these studies, we extended work on anthropomorphism by developing a new measure of individual differences in anthropomorphic beliefs for use with children.
Severson, R. L., & Woodard, S. R. (2018). Imagining others' minds: The positive relation between children's role play and anthropomorphism. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 2140. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02140
Severson, R. L., & Lemm, K. (2016). Kids see human too: Adapting an individual differences measure of anthropomorphism for a child sample. Journal of Cognition and Development, 17, 122-141. doi: 10.1080/15248372.2014.989445