One way young kids learn to organize the world is by dividing it into living and non-living things. But now that robots vacuum our floors and smart phones talk back to us, do children think of technology as alive? A team of Washington researchers is exploring how kids interact with robots, and what that might reveal about both their brains and ours.
Western Washington University’s Rachel Severson was fascinated with how children relate to nature, and she dug into it in grad school. But then her advisor took a left turn, and started looking into children and robots. Severson, laughing a bit, says she was outraged.