Cross-Disciplinary Explorations

This area of research reaches across fields to find new technology to teach emotional intelligence, as well as new ways to assess outcomes of that instruction. Experts from many diverse fields, including robotics, psychology, neuroscience, and education, are teaming up to share theories, methods, and assessment tools.

We currently are testing the use of virtual worlds and social robots in cultivating emotional intelligence. In one set of studies in partnership with the Air Force Research Lab, we collect psychophysiological data to assess how well people learn new skills in a virtual world context.

Our work with the Social Robotics Lab at Yale paves the way for interactive robots that not only help develop students’ emotional intelligence, but also enhance critical thinking, empathy, and perspective-taking abilities — skills crucial for healthy decisions and supportive relationships.

Innovations in Skill-Building

Virtual technologies that simulate real-life environments and situations increasingly are used in teaching and training. The Innovations in Skill-Building research project aims to use the virtual world context to teach participants how to regulate their own emotions, among other skills. The study incorporates psychophysiological measures to assess engagement and stress levels. The ultimate goal is to create an evidence-based online program that teaches emotional intelligence.

Interactive Role-Play with Robots

The purpose of Interactive Role-Play with Robots is to learn how robots can engage children through interactive storytelling, with the goal of helping children improve their understanding of emotion concepts. Children interact with a pair of robots using stories and activities derived from RULER.