Social Presence and Children: Praise, Intrinsic Motivation, and Learning With Computers

Cheryl C. Bracken, Cleveland State University
Matthew Lombard


The computers are social actors (CASA) paradigm asserts that human computer users interact socially with computers, and the paradigm has provided extensive evidence that this is the case for adults. This experiment examined whether or not children have similar reactions to computers by comparing children's predictable responses to praise from a teacher to their responses to praise from a computer. Eight- to 10-year-old participants (N= 42) received either praise or neutral feedback from a computer. Independent variables were the feedback (praise or neutral), and participants' age and gender. Dependent variables measured via a paper-and-pencil questionnaire were learning (recall and recognition memory), perceived ability, and intrinsic motivation. Results provide evidence that children do have social responses to computers and that such social responses can lead to increases in learning (recall and recognition) in young children.