Prof. Jonathan Gratch

Talk Date: 7 Oct. 2019

Talk Title: The social psychology of human-agent interaction

Talk Abstract: Designers of human-agent systems often assume that users interact with machines as if they are interacting with another person. As a consequences, fidelity to human behavior is often viewed as the gold standard for judging agent design, and theories of human social psychology are often accepted without question as a framework for informing human-agent interaction. This assumption was given strength by the pioneering work of Cliff Nass showing that many of the effects studied within social psychology seem to apply to human-machine interaction. In this talk, I will illustrate that these social effects are much weaker than widely supposed, and that the differences in how people treat machines are arguably more interesting than the similarities. These differences can lead to novel insights into human social cognition and unique technological solutions to intractable social problems. I will discuss this in the context of our research on education and mental health. Thus, rather copying human behavior, I will argue that HAI researchers should aim to transcend conventional forms of social interaction, and work towards novel theoretical frameworks that address the novel psychology of human-agent interaction.

Speaker Biography: Jonathan Gratch is a Research Full Professor of Computer Science and Psychology at the University of Southern California’s (USC) and Director for Virtual Human Research at USC Institute for Creative Technologies. He completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Illinois in Urban-Champaign in 1995. Dr. Gratch’s research focuses on computational models of human cognitive and social processes, especially emotion, and explores these models’ role in shaping human-computer interactions in virtual environments. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of IEEE’s Transactions on Affective Computing, a founding associate editor of Affective Science, and Associate Editor of Emotion Review and the Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems. He is an AAAI Fellow, a Cognitive Science Fellow, and ACM SIGART Autonomous Agent’s Award recipient.




Prof. Jun Tani

Talk Date: 8 Oct. 2019

Talk Title: Accounting social cognitive mechanisms by the framework of predictive coding and active inference: a synthetic experimental study using robotics interaction platforms

Talk Abstract: Our group has explored possible neuropsychological mechanisms for social cognition by using predictive coding and active inference frameworks. For the purpose of gaining better understanding, we have taken so-called the synthetic robotics approach wherein a set of experiments have been conducted for robot-human as well as robot-robot interactions. Especially, we examine the underlying mechanisms accounting for spontaneous coupling and decoupling among agents as well as autonomous shifts from one social context to another. We investigate also how can novel or creative behaviors be co-developed by robots and human tutors through their developmental interactive tutoring processes. Finally, I address phenomenological aspects in social cognition from our preliminary examinations on how human can feel intention or free will of the robots or how the robots can possibly do so for the humans in the human-in-the-robot-loop experiment.

Speaker Biography: Jun Tani received the B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan in 1981, dual M.S. degree in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA in 1988, and the D.Eng. degree from Sophia University, Tokyo in 1995. He started his research career with Sony Laboratory, Tokyo, in 1990. He had been a PI of the Laboratory for Behavior and Dynamic Cognition, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Saitama, Japan, for 12 years until 2012. He was appointed as a Full Professor with the Electrical Engineering Department, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, South Korea, from 2012 to 2017. He is currently a Full Professor with the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Okinawa, Japan. His current research interests include cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, phenomenology, complex adaptive systems, and robotics. He is an author of “Exploring Robotic Minds: Actions, Symbols, and Consciousness as Self-Organizing Dynamic Phenomena.” published from Oxford Univ. Press in 2016.