You are here:

Computer Simulated Child Behavior as an Elicitor of Adult Reactions



A study used a paradigm in which adults believed they were teaching a simple video game to an unseen child. In fact, the adults saw computer-generated responses that were modeled on actual child behavior. Subjects were 160 mothers, who were randomly assigned to view simulations of either responsive or unresponsive behavior. The simulations of responsive behavior showed steady improvement during the game, while simulations of unresponsive behavior involved random errors. The total number of errors was the same for both types of simulations. Adults could provide feedback by giving "happy" or "mad face" computer responses, half at any time during the game, and half at the end. Adults were videotaped during the experiment. Analysis of the tapes revealed that simulations of unresponsive behavior were viewed as reflecting low improvement or qualified improvement on the part of the children. Adults used more "mad face" responses and fewer "happy faces" with simulations of unresponsive behavior than with simulations of responsive behavior. Individual beliefs about parenting qualified responses: more negative responses came from parents with low perceived control as parents. Nine references and two charts are appended. (SAK)


Bugental, D.B. & Lewis, J.C. Computer Simulated Child Behavior as an Elicitor of Adult Reactions. Retrieved August 24, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on March 21, 2014. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.