“My Doll Says It's OK”: A Study of Children's Conformity to a Talking Doll

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Randi Williams, Christian Vazquez, Stefania Druga, Pattie Maes, Cynthia Breazeal. “My Doll Says It's OK: Voice-Enabled Toy Influences Children's Moral Decisions.” IDC. 2018


Today's children are growing up with smart toys, Internet-connected devices that use artificial intelligence to drive interactive play. In a prior research study, we found that children ages 4-10 perceive these toys as worthy of trust. This leads us to inquire if children in this age range could be directly influenced by these devices. In this work, we used a conformity test and a disobedience task to study how children are influenced by a talking doll. We found that the doll could influence children to change their judgments about moral transgressions, however it was unsuccessful in persuading children to disobey an instruction. Finally, we analyzed children's perceptions of the smart toy and discusses implications of this work for future child-agent interaction.

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