The illusion of love: does a virtual pet provide the same companionship as a real one?

Chesney, Thomas and Lawson, Shaun W. (2007) The illusion of love: does a virtual pet provide the same companionship as a real one? Interaction Studies: Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems , 8 (2). pp. 337-342. ISSN 1572-0381

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The illusion of love: does a virtual pet provide the same companionship as a real one?
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/is.8.2.09che

Abstract

The purpose of this short paper is to examine whether a screen based virtual pet, specifically Nintendogs, gives any form of companionship comparable to a real pet. Nintendogs runs on a Nintendo DS, a mobile games console. The unit has a full colour screen showing an animated puppy which users must feed, water, walk, play with and train. An abundance of literature exists examining the benefits of owning a real pet yet very little has been written about human attachment to virtual pets. Six hundred five Nintendog users were contacted by email with a request to complete a questionnaire about their interaction, 80 (13%) responded. Nine hundred requests were made to a similar group who were asked to respond about their real pet, if they had one. One hundred sixteen responses were received. Results indicate that a Nintendog does give companionship, but companionship which is significantly less than that given by a real dog or cat.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:The purpose of this short paper is to examine whether a screen based virtual pet, specifically Nintendogs, gives any form of companionship comparable to a real pet. Nintendogs runs on a Nintendo DS, a mobile games console. The unit has a full colour screen showing an animated puppy which users must feed, water, walk, play with and train. An abundance of literature exists examining the benefits of owning a real pet yet very little has been written about human attachment to virtual pets. Six hundred five Nintendog users were contacted by email with a request to complete a questionnaire about their interaction, 80 (13%) responded. Nine hundred requests were made to a similar group who were asked to respond about their real pet, if they had one. One hundred sixteen responses were received. Results indicate that a Nintendog does give companionship, but companionship which is significantly less than that given by a real dog or cat.
Keywords:Virtual pets, Pets, companion animals, Computer games
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G440 Human-computer Interaction
G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G400 Computer Science
Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
ID Code:1210
Deposited By: Bev Jones
Deposited On:21 Sep 2007
Last Modified:02 Sep 2014 09:09

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