Human–Human Versus Human–Robot Interaction in Piaget’s Liquid and Mass Conservation Performed by 5–6-Year-Old Children

  •  Christos Sakkas    
  •  Stavroula Samartzi    


This research emphasizes the importance of human–robot interaction in psychology of cognitive development. In the experiments conducted, the hypothesis that children’s cognitive comprehension is enhanced by using a robotic experimenter to guide them through the tasks, instead of a human one, was tested. Quantity conservation conceptualization in children aged 5–6 years old was examined by utilizing the Piagetian conservation of liquid and mass tasks, via the use of an electronic tablet device and a robot. The participants were 160 first graders (equal gender representation). Half of the children executed the experiments with a robot experimenter, while the other half executed the experiments with a human experimenter. Two distinct sets of tasks were used. For the conservation of mass, a clay sphere was turned into a lengthy structure, while the conservation of liquid was performed by pouring water from a short-wide glass to a long-narrow one. Pictures, graphics, and sound were used to clarify what was occurring. The results of children guided by a robot experimenter were compared to the results of children guided by a human experimenter, as traditionally conducted. This study reveals that children performed better and were more likely to perceive the concept of conservation when they interacted with a robot experimenter. The evident psychological and educational implications are discussed.

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