Skip to main content

Conceptualizing and Interacting with Artificial Agents


The research in this project explores adults' and children's understandings about the thinking processes inherent to mechanical and natural agents.  In this research we will not only explore these concepts, but will also explore the impact these concepts have on people's interactions with different kinds of agents. In our first set of experiments, we follow up on previous research demonstrating that adults believe that people engage in an intentional style of thinking whereas computers do not, while robots are sometimes classified with computers and other times are seen as being hybrids between computers and people. In addition, we will explore developmental changes in understandings about natural and artificial agents, by testing children, ranging in age from preschoolers to late elementary students, for understandings about and interactions with a range of artificial intelligent agents.  Finally, we will explore how these concepts affect people's interaction with different kinds of intelligent agent in a multi-agent robotic control interface, and in an agent-based teaching environment.