Pat Pataranutaporn's PhD Dissertation Defense


Pat Pataranutaporn

Pat Pataranutaporn 

July 23, 2024
11:00am — 1:00pm ET

Cyborg Psychology: The Art & Science of Designing Human-AI Systems that Support Human Flourishing

Committee members:

Prof. Pattie Maes (Advisor), MIT Media Lab 
Prof. Jeremy Bailenson, Stanford University
Prof. Yoon Kim, MIT EECS/CSAIL


As Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly integrated into our daily lives, understanding the psychological implications of human-AI interaction is crucial for developing systems that truly support human capabilities. This research introduces "Cyborg Psychology," an interdisciplinary, human-centered approach to understanding how AI affects crucial cognitive and behavioral processes, including motivation, critical thinking, self-reflection, confidence, and beliefs. Cyborg Psychology recognizes the complex, non-linear interactions between humans and AI, acknowledging that both can influence and shape each other in dynamic and often unpredictable ways. Informed by human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, psychology, and behavioral economics, this research connects various disciplines to design and study the interaction between people and AI. The thesis presents several AI systems that apply psychological insights to support human cognition and behavior. For example, "Wearable Reasoner" seeks to enhance human rationality, "Personalized Virtual Characters" aims to support learning motivation, and "Future You" was designed to encourage long-term oriented thinking and behavior. Deploying a broad arsenal of research methodologies, this work aims to provide a deeper understanding of human-AI systems as well as a framework for investigating implications of interaction design choices. The ultimate goal is to empower the development of AI systems that foster human flourishing by nurturing human intellectual growth, fostering curiosity, and stimulating critical thinking.

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