Studies show that artificial intelligence can help people feel heard.

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A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences It found that AI-generated messages made recipients feel more “heard” than messages generated by untrained humans, and that AI was better at detecting emotion than humans. However, recipients reported that they heard less when they knew a message had come from AI.

As AI becomes more common in everyday life, understanding its potential and limitations in addressing human psychological needs becomes more pertinent. With empathic connections diminishing in a fast-paced world, many people are finding their human needs to be heard and validated increasingly unfulfilled.

Research by Yidan Yin, Nan Jia, and Cheryl J. Wakslik from the USC Marshall School of Business answers an important question: Can AI, which lacks human consciousness and emotional experience, listen and understand people? Can be successful in making sense of?

“In the context of the growing epidemic of loneliness, a big part of our motivation was to see if AI could really help people feel heard,” said the paper’s first author, Yidan Yin, of the Lloyd Greif Center for is a postdoctoral researcher in Entrepreneurial Studies. USC Marshall.

The team’s findings not only highlight the potential of AI to enhance the human capacity for understanding and communication, but also raise important conceptual questions about the meaning and practice of listening to help maximize human flourishing. How to best leverage the powers of AI.

In an experiment and subsequent follow-up studies, Nan Jia said, “We identified that while AI demonstrated a better ability to provide emotional support than untrained human responders, AI responses The undervaluation of is a key challenge to effectively harnessing AI’s capabilities,” said Nan Jia. Associate Professor of Strategic Management.

The USC Marshall research team investigated people’s feelings of hearing and other related perceptions and emotions after receiving a response from an AI or human. The survey varied both the actual source of the message and the apparent source of the message: participants received messages that were actually generated by AI or by a human respondent, with information on whether it was AI or human-generated.

“What we found was that both the actual source of the message and the assumed source of the message played a role,” said Cheryl Wakslak, associate professor of management and organization at USC Marshall. “People felt heard more when they received an AI than a human message, but felt less heard when they believed a message came from an AI.”

AI bias

Yen noted that his research “found a bias against AI mainly. It’s useful, but they don’t like it.”

Perceptions of AI are bound to change, Wakslak added: “Of course these effects can change over time, but one of the interesting things we saw was that the two effects we observed were similar in magnitude. were quite similar. In an AI message, the response bias has the same extent when a message is identified as coming from an AI, so that the two effects necessarily cancel each other out. “

Individuals further reported an “uncanny valley” reaction – a sense of unease when informed that the empathic response originated from AI, with complex emotional responses elicited through AI-human interactions. The scenario is highlighted.

The research survey also asked participants about their general openness to AI, which moderated some of the effects, Wakslak explained.

“People who feel more positively about AI don’t exhibit as much counter-punishment and it’s interesting because over time, will people have more positive attitudes toward AI?” He submitted. “That remains to be seen … but it will be interesting to see how it plays out as people’s familiarity and experience with AI grows.”

AI provides better emotional support.

The study highlighted important nuances. AI-generated responses were associated with increased hope and decreased distress, indicating a positive emotional impact on recipients. AI was more disciplined than humans in offering emotional support and avoided making overwhelming practical suggestions.

“Ironically, AI was better at using emotional support strategies that have been shown in prior research to be empathic and accurate. Humans can potentially learn from AI because Often times when our significant other is complaining about something, we want to. Provide validation, but we don’t know how to do it effectively.”

Rather than AI replacing humans, research points to various benefits of AI and human responses. Advanced technology can be a valuable tool, empowering humans to use AI to help them understand each other better and learn how to respond in ways that provide emotional support. Are and demonstrate understanding and validation.

Overall, the paper’s findings have important implications for the integration of AI into more social contexts. Leveraging the capabilities of AI can provide a cost-effective, scalable solution for social support, especially for people who may not otherwise have access to people who can provide them with such support. However, as the research team notes, their findings suggest that careful consideration must be given to how AI is presented and perceived in order to maximize its benefits and minimize any negative reactions. Is.

More information:
Yidan Yin et al, AI can help people feel heard, but an AI label reduces this effect, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2024). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2319112121

Journal Information:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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