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Searching for Signs of Intelligent Life: An Investigation of Young Children's Beliefs About Intelligence and Animacy

Bernstein, Debra L. (2007) Searching for Signs of Intelligent Life: An Investigation of Young Children's Beliefs About Intelligence and Animacy. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The goal of this research project is to identify the source of children's ideas about the intelligence capabilities of robots. If children's beliefs are influenced by naïve biology theories, there is likely to be a strong relationship between animacy judgments (whether an entity is alive or not) and judgments of intelligence. However, if children's beliefs are influenced by prior experience with robots, there is no reason to assume intelligence and animacy would be related; rather, degree of prior exposure to robots would influence children's beliefs about robots' intelligence capabilities. Results suggest a relationship between animacy judgments and intelligence for children with little prior exposure to robots. For children with greater exposure, there is less of a relationship between intelligence and animacy judgments. Additionally, children with greater exposure attributed more intelligence to the robots than children with little exposure. It would seem that children with little robot experience are guided by their naïve theories of biology, while children with significant robot experience use ideas gathered from their prior experiences to make judgments about the intelligence capabilities of robots.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bernstein, Debra L.dlb36@pitt.eduDLB36
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCrowley, Kevincrowleyk@pitt.eduCROWLEYK
Committee MemberSchunn, Christianschunn@pitt.eduSCHUNN
Committee MemberChi, Michelenechi@pitt.eduCHI
Date: 23 January 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 22 November 2005
Approval Date: 23 January 2007
Submission Date: 1 December 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: ; intelligence; robots; technology
Other ID:, etd-12012006-144827
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:07
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:52


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