Research Projects

Ongoing Research Projects

Prosociality towards Chatbots

Humans have a natural inclination to help one another- we aid a stranger in danger, comfort a friend in distress, or render assistance to fellow colleagues and students. When we engage in such acts without expectation of reward or recompense, we are behaving prosocially. Much literature has studied prosocial behaviour as an evolutionarily ingrained tendency. As chatbots become ever more capable and human-like, understanding if and how humans exhibit these same behaviours towards conversational machines presents an evolving and exciting area of research.

Investigators: Prof. Renwen Zhang, Prof. Naomi Yamashita, Yugin Tan, Zicheng Zhu

Sustainable Habits with Chatbots

Sustainability is more than a hot topic and a buzzword- it is a complex, pressing issue to be solved. The lens of social norms frames sustainability as a behavioural and sociological problem, where change is effected at a collective rather than an individual level and any interventions are lasting and self-sustaining. We use residential colleges on the NUS campus as a case study, specifically studying the problem of food waste in college dining halls. 

Investigators: Yugin Tan

Combatting Misinformation with Chatbots

Misinformation leads to myriad social problems like undermining public understanding of science, eroding trust in research findings, lack of compliance with public health protocols, and increased stigma towards different communities. While technology can assist in detecting and preventing misinformation, it can also reinforce false beliefs if it responds incorrectly. Recently, the demonstration of the chatGPT has not only shown the potential of a Conversational Agent (CA) but alarmed people that it could lead to detrimental consequences. 

Therefore, this project aims to improve human capabilities to identify misinformation by creating new interventions. We are especially interested in the effects of conversational agents on people's attitudes, immunity toward misinformation, and the potential of CAs to strengthen people's critical thinking and help them become resilient to information manipulation.

Investigators: Prof. Sue Fussell, Biswadeep Sen, Yongliang Liu, Yichao Cui

Reducing Social Stigma via Chatbots

Mental illness remains a significant challenge globally, with individuals often facing stigma and discrimination in various aspects of their lives. Such attitudes can lead to social isolation and reduced access to essential resources, emphasizing the need for effective interventions that promote social inclusion. 

Our study aims to investigate the effectiveness of Social Contact Theory in reducing stigmatized thoughts towards mental illness patients by using a chatbot to simulate a patient's experience. The findings will inform the development of solutions that tackle social stigma and promote a more inclusive society.

Investigators: Prof. Naomi Yamashita, Dr. Jack Jamieson, Tianqi Song, Qinzhuo Yu

Social Support from Chatbots

The Social Support Project aims to explore the utilization of chatbots in peer and social support situations, addressing real-world social support challenges. The result of this project will be helpful for discovering the potential use of AI chatbots to improve social support quality.

Investigators: Prof. Renwen Zhang, Prof. Jingbo Meng, Yu-Jen Lee, Zihan Liu, Han Li

Moral AI Development

Nowadays, the groundbreaking development of AI technology, such as the emergence and application of large models like GPT, has completely changed the production methods of many industries, bringing about a surprising technological revolution. However, with the advancement of technology, exploring the impact of AI on human society has become an increasingly important issue, especially in exploring the impact of AI on human morality. 

In terms of Moral AI, we focus on incorporating human moral standards into AI models or finding appropriate mechanisms to assist humans in making ethical decisions. 

Investigators: Jingshu Li

VR for Ageism Reduction

In light of the aging trend worldwide, WHO proposed ageism reduction as one of the goals promoting human well-being. On the other hand, a growing number of studies are adopting new technology, such as virtual reality (VR), to allow more immersive experiences. This research intends to make use of VR’s capability of simulating real social contact and create a VR escape room game experience which allows the young to collaborate with older people. By the collaborative puzzle-solving process, we hope to understand would the intergenerational contact between the young and the old be enhanced.

Investigators: Shuyu Yin, Ruotong Zou

Advancing Multilingual Team Communication with AI

Our project aims to address communication barriers in multilingual teams by using advanced AI natural language processing technology to facilitate smoother communication among individuals from diverse linguistic backgrounds. We specifically focus on NNS (non-native speakers) and use a powerful language model to build a communication agent that reduces communication barriers from both the NNS and NS (native speaker) perspectives. The agent helps NNS understand NS speech and prompts NS to provide more assistance to NNS. Our goal is to increase the speaking share of NNS and enhance team communication efficiency and collective intelligence, leading to improved team efficiency and collaboration in the global competitive landscape.

Investigators: Prof. Naomi Yamashita, Peinuan Qin