Media Technology MSc

MSc Thesis


Title

Doe kaa wee-naa oe-nai boo: Assessing Children’s Experiences with Active and Passive Artificial Companions

Student(s)

Danica Mast

Year

2009

Abstract

This research investigates if there is a difference, and if so, what difference there is between children’s experiences with active (Furby) and passive (plush animal - Little Donkey) artificial companions and how children place these creatures within their world. This paper gives an introduction to the field of artificial companionship, similar studies are discussed and two case studies were conducted to come up with a research method. An experiment was conducted with 4 kindergarten classes that included observations, (group) questionnaires and a card sorting task. Results of all work is presented and discussed in the paper. It was demonstrated that children saw Furby more as a real animal than a plush animal, but this did not make the creature more interesting on the long term. The electronic features of Furby are interesting at first encounter but wear off quickly, the expectations that the features of Furby create cannot be fulfilled, creating disappointment. In the end most children liked Little Donkey better than Furby.

Full Reference

Danica Mast, "Doe kaa wee-naa oe-nai boo: Assessing Children’s Experiences with Active and Passive Artificial Companions", Master's Thesis for the Media Technology programme, Leiden University (The Netherlands), 2009