Chin and Desai discuss conversational agents at TMS Conference

Jessie Chin
Jessie Chin, Assistant Professor
Smit Desai
Smit Desai

Assistant Professor Jessie Chin and PhD student Smit Desai will present their research at the Technology, Mind and Society (TMS) Conference, which will be held virtually November 3-5. Hosted by the American Psychological Association, TMS brings together scientists, industry leaders, practitioners, students, and policymakers to explore the critical role that psychology plays in the design, use, adoption, and impact of technology and the artificial intelligence that powers it.

Chin and Desai will present their paper, "Being a Nice Partner: The Effects of Age and Interaction Types on the Perceived Social Abilities of Conversational Agents." In the paper, the researchers discuss the extent to which older adults and younger adults perceive conversational agents (such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant) to be sociable when interviewed by the human experimenters or conversational agents, and how this affects the acceptance of these technologies. They find crucial differences between the behaviors of older and younger adults towards conversational agents and as a result, advocate for designing “elder-friendly” conversational agents.

Desai's research interests include the usability and prototyping of voice interfaces, in particular the user's mental model while interacting with these interfaces. He earned his bachelor's degree in computer engineering from Gujarat Technological University in India and his MS in information management from the University of Illinois.

Chin's research aims to advance knowledge in cognitive sciences regarding evolving human interaction with contemporary information technologies and translating theories in social and behavioral sciences to the design of technologies and interaction experience to promote health communication and behavior across the lifespan. She holds a BS in psychology from National Taiwan University, an MS in human factors, and a PhD in educational psychology with a focus on cognitive science in teaching and learning from the University of Illinois.

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