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  • CS Colloquium: Gale Lucas (University of Southern California) - The Best of Both Worlds: Social Agents Leverage Rapport and Social Safety to Increase Trust

    Thu, Jan 18, 2018 @ 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM

    Computer Science

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Gale Lucas, University of Southern California

    Talk Title: The Best of Both Worlds: Social Agents Leverage Rapport and Social Safety to Increase Trust

    Series: Computer Science Colloquium

    Abstract: There are risks and benefits to trusting others. For example, when one shares a secret, the discloser can experience benefits (e.g., catharsis, sometimes even health benefits); however, they have to trust the recipient won't use or hold it against them. There are two key factors that increase willingness to engage in such actions that require trust. The first is social safety: the sense that one's identity is protected (i.e., anonymous) and won't be judged. The second is rapport: the harmony, fluidity, synchrony, and flow felt during interaction. These two factors -social safety and rapport- are normally set in opposition to each other. The former is maximized in the absence of another human, while the latter is maximized in intensive face-to-face (i.e., non-anonymous) interactions. Thus, usually, there is a trade-off, where either social safety or rapport has to be chosen, but not both. Social agents (virtual humans or robots), however, offer the best of both worlds. They can engage in rapport-building like their human counterparts, but also foster a sense of social safety (anonymity, lack of judgement). In this talk, I present research showing how social safety and rapport, both together and separately, can be leveraged to increase trust in agents and robots. I discuss effects across various user outcomes related to trust: sharing personal information and honest disclosure, as well as feeling comfortable practicing negotiation with social agents, trusting them to control the physical environment, and taking their advice. Finally, I discuss implications for user design and describe possibilities for future research.

    This lecture satisfies requirements for CSCI 591: Research Colloquium. Please note, due to limited capacity in OHE 100D, seats will be first come first serve.



    Biography: Gale M. Lucas is a Senior Research Associate at University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). While earning her PhD from Northwestern University, she was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to test models of emotion, motivation, and social interaction. After completing her doctorate, she spent two years teaching in a liberal arts context. She then went on to complete her post-doctoral work at ICT, where she established a research program in the areas of Affective Computing and Human-Computer Interaction. Now as a Senior Research Associate, she continues her line of work in affective and personality computing that focuses on models predicting mental health, perceptions of trust and emotion in real-world situations. Her work in HCI is centered around understanding how various social factors affect trust in agents and robots.


    Host: Kevin Knight

    Location: Olin Hall of Engineering (OHE) - 100D

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Computer Science Department

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