Kids Are Susceptible to Robot Peer Pressure


Studies revealed that peer pressure is not only a human thing but robots can also do peer pressure especially on kids. / Photo by: Tatyaby via Shutterstock


New research conducted by Anna-Lisa Vollmer from Bielefeld University and the team showed that kids can give in to peer pressure from robots too, reports magazine Science Robotics.

The researchers used the experiment called The Asch paradigm. Developed by psychologist Solomon Asch in the 1950s, the Asch paradigm is a test to determine the manner an individual will respond to a group-think or to what extent the social pressure will cause the person to confirm or follow. During the recent experiment conducted by Vollmer and team, they gathered a total of 60 adults and 43 children.

For the adult group, they were divided into three groups: the control group or the alone group, the group involving three other human peers, and the group with three Nao humanoid robots from the SoftBank Robotics. 

The participants were asked to match the vertical lines they see on a computer screen. The team figured out that adults can be persuaded by peer pressure even if these human piers gave them the wrong answer. However, the adult group is not easily influenced by the social robots. 

When the team conducted the experiment to the 43 kids, they did not include the group with three human peers since they believe that it is already a well-established idea that children are really susceptible to social influence. So, they focused more on the influence of robots on kids. The result of their experiment showed that the kids were “significantly influenced” even if the robot peers gave them the wrong answer.

The team settled that "care" should be taken when designing for AI and apps of these robots because there can be an impact on the kids if they are exposed to social robots.