Dr. Daniel Shank

Assistant Professor

Specialization:

Social psychology, technology, groups, artificial intelligence

Research Interests:

What causes people to perceive real-world artificial intelligences (AIs) or their behavior as moral and what causes people to perceive them to have mind? How do people perceive the affective impressions of groups differently than individuals in social interaction?

Resume/CV:

Research Opportunities

1. Morality and Mind Perceptions of Artificial Intelligence in Social Interaction

What causes people to perceive real-world artificial intelligences (AIs) or their behavior as moral and what causes people to perceive them to have mind? This research addresses this question by documenting what real-world situations occur with AIs and how people perceive and interpret them, both through open-ended surveys on people’s experiences and experiments which present real-world events of AIs with moral outcomes. Multiple branches of this project investigate (1) people’s perceptions of moral violations by AIs, (2) people’s perceptions of morally positive or altruistic behavior by AIs, (3) how people blame AIs based on their knowledge of the AI’s algorithms, (4) how much people blame the AI vs. the human when they jointly make a decision, and (5) the real-life causes of perceiving more mind in AIs.

2. Affective Impressions of Groups versus Individuals in Social Interaction

Description: How do people perceive the affective impressions of groups differently than individuals in social interaction? This research addresses this question by considering types of groups (e.g., social vs. work), group properties (e.g., homogeneity, agency) and form of social interaction (e.g., group acts towards a person vs. person acts towards a group) in multiple survey-based studies. Different branch of this research investigate (1) the relationship between the properties of groups and affective impressions, (2) the linguistic phrasing of the group-term and affective impressions, and (3) social interaction with the group acting or receiving the action.

3. Responsibility Attributions from a Human or Technological Representative to an Organization

Description: Customers interact with both human and technological representatives of organizations.  When their experience or outcome is good or bad, do they hold the representative or the organization more responsible? This research addresses how this process differs for human vs. simple technology vs. sophisticated technology, how it differs based on information about the representative’s role in the company, and how it changes customer behavior. (1) One branch of this project investigates if a representative’s autonomy and the responsibility of the organization are related, (2) while the other branch considers the role of the customer’s perceiving an intelligent technology to have more mind in changing the responsibility of the company.

4. More Information about Being Dr. Shank’s Research Assistant

Duties: Research assistants will primarily be involved in conducting background literature searches, running experiments, coding qualitative data, developing the stimuli, and developing experiments.  Advanced research assistants may be involved in analyzing results, writing up findings, and presenting findings at conferences.

Volunteering and Pay: For unpaid position: may join project as volunteer for 10 hours per week or as fulfillment of Psych 5000/4099 (Special Problems) with requirements to be negotiated with project lead. For paid position: Undergraduate hourly rate is $8.00 for 5 to 10 hours per week; graduate rate is approximately $1607 per month for 15 hours/week and includes a tuition waiver. Generally, paid positions are only offered after a period of unpaid work demonstrating abilities or based on previous research experience. Paid positions are also contingent on available funding.

Start Date: Unpaid and paid positions may start anytime; but paid positions are often offered for the beginning of a new semester.

Location: Most work can be done remotely with the exception of on-campus experiments.

Contact: If interested please send resume and cover letter to Dr. Shank at shankd@mst.edu