“Alexa, How Do You Change Us?” Exploring associations between children’s exposure to digital voice assistants and their ontological understandings of (human) life and technology

14th February 2022 : 12:45 - 14:00

Category: Seminar Webinar

Research Group: Quantitative Methods Hub

Speaker: Janik Festerling

Location: Online presentation in seminar room D, also available online

Convener: Lars-Erik Malmberg

Audience: Public

Online presentation in seminar room D, also available online.

Register here to watch online.



Janik Festerling,

Department of Education, University of Oxford



Digital Voice Assistants (DVAs) have become a ubiquitous technology in today’s home and childhood environments. Inspired by Bernstein & Crowley’s (2008) study on how children’s ontological conceptualizations of life and technology are systematically associated with their real-world exposure to robotic technologies, the two presented studies explore this association for children in their middle childhood (7-11 years) and with different levels of DVA-exposure. Both studies are based on correlational survey data from 143 parent-child dyads. Study (I) focuses on children’s general conceptualizations of life (e.g. humans) and technology (e.g. DVAs, smartphones) according to basic ontological qualities (e.g. intelligence, learning, emotionality, empathy, moral value). Study (II) is based on a latent construct approach focusing on the structural and measurement properties of children’s ontological conceptualizations while also exploring the role of children’s psychological motives when conceptualizing humans and DVAs, in particular.