Dataset Open Access

Children's Reliance on the Non-Verbal Cues of a Robot Versus a Human

Josje Verhagen; Rianne van den Berghe; Ora Oudgenoeg; Aylin Kuntay; Paul Leseman

This study assessed whether four- to six-year-old children (i) differed in their weighing of non-verbal cues (pointing, eye gaze) and verbal cues provided by a robot versus a human; (ii) weighed non-verbal cues differently depending on whether these contrasted with a novel or familiar label; and (iii) relied differently on a robot’s nonverbal cues depending on the degree to which they attributed human-like properties to the robot. The results showed that children generally followed pointing over labeling, in line with earlier research. Children did not rely more strongly on the non-verbal cues of a robot versus those of a human. Regarding pointing, children who perceived the robot as human-like relied on pointing more strongly when it contrasted with a novel label versus a familiar label, but children who perceived the robot as less human-like did not show this difference. Regarding eye gaze, children relied more strongly on the gaze cue when it contrasted with a novel versus a familiar label, and no effect of anthropomorphism was found. Taken together, these results show no difference in the degree to which children rely on non-verbal cues of a robot versus those of a human and provide preliminary evidence that differences in anthropomorphism may interact with children’s reliance on a robot’s non-verbal behaviors.

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