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Pet owners traditionally develop an emotional bond with their pets. However, in this unusual study from the University of Washington, researchers attempted to ascertain whether similar feelings can be evoked from Sony's robotic dog AIBO. The study's methodology involved analyzing "people's conceptions of AIBO through their spontaneous postings that occurred in 3 well-established online AIBO discussion forums." The results indicated that people tend to associate social characteristics to AIBO but not moral characteristics. Four papers related to the study can be downloaded from this website. A discussion about the use of robotic pets for children and the elderly is also given. This site is also reviewed in the December 19, 2003 _NSDL MET Report_.
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