Log In Sign Up

Human-AI Collaboration Enables More Empathic Conversations in Text-based Peer-to-Peer Mental Health Support

by   Ashish Sharma, et al.

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are enabling systems that augment and collaborate with humans to perform simple, mechanistic tasks like scheduling meetings and grammar-checking text. However, such Human-AI collaboration poses challenges for more complex, creative tasks, such as carrying out empathic conversations, due to difficulties of AI systems in understanding complex human emotions and the open-ended nature of these tasks. Here, we focus on peer-to-peer mental health support, a setting in which empathy is critical for success, and examine how AI can collaborate with humans to facilitate peer empathy during textual, online supportive conversations. We develop Hailey, an AI-in-the-loop agent that provides just-in-time feedback to help participants who provide support (peer supporters) respond more empathically to those seeking help (support seekers). We evaluate Hailey in a non-clinical randomized controlled trial with real-world peer supporters on TalkLife (N=300), a large online peer-to-peer support platform. We show that our Human-AI collaboration approach leads to a 19.60 conversational empathy between peers overall. Furthermore, we find a larger 38.88 self-identify as experiencing difficulty providing support. We systematically analyze the Human-AI collaboration patterns and find that peer supporters are able to use the AI feedback both directly and indirectly without becoming overly reliant on AI while reporting improved self-efficacy post-feedback. Our findings demonstrate the potential of feedback-driven, AI-in-the-loop writing systems to empower humans in open-ended, social, creative tasks such as empathic conversations.


page 3

page 25

page 26

page 27

page 30

page 37

page 39

page 40


Towards Facilitating Empathic Conversations in Online Mental Health Support: A Reinforcement Learning Approach

Online peer-to-peer support platforms enable conversations between milli...

Vyaktitv: A Multimodal Peer-to-Peer Hindi Conversations based Dataset for Personality Assessment

Automatically detecting personality traits can aid several applications,...

Modeling Motivational Interviewing Strategies On An Online Peer-to-Peer Counseling Platform

Millions of people participate in online peer-to-peer support sessions, ...

Algorithms for the Greater Good! On Mental Modeling and Acceptable Symbiosis in Human-AI Collaboration

Effective collaboration between humans and AI-based systems requires eff...

Decision-support for the Masses by Enabling Conversations with Open Data

Open data refers to data that is freely available for reuse. Although th...

A Computational Approach to Understanding Empathy Expressed in Text-Based Mental Health Support

Empathy is critical to successful mental health support. Empathy measure...

TangToys: Smart Toys that can Communicate and Improve Children's Wellbeing

Children can find it challenging to communicate their emotions especiall...