Researchers at the University of Plymouth in the U.K. have demonstrated that young children are much more susceptible than adults to having their opinions and decisions influenced by robots.
A comparison of this susceptibility between children and adults found children between seven and nine were more likely to give the same responses as humanoid robots, even if the robots were clearly wrong.
Using the Asch paradigm, the researchers asked participants to look at a screen showing four lines and identify which two were the same length. Solitary people almost never make a mistake, but when performing the experiment with others, they tend to follow what others are saying.
Solitary children scored 87% on the test, but when the robots joined in, their score fell to 75%. Among the incorrect answers, 74% matched the robot's answers.
The researchers say the study should inform policy for using autonomous social robots as aids for education professionals or child therapists.
From University of Plymouth (U.K.)
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