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Psychology 101 for AI Professionals

An AI-Integrated Emotional Wellness Perspective

by Mark D. Lerner, Ph.D.

Chairman, The National Center for Emotional Wellness

Principal Consultant & Creator, AI-Integrated Emotional Wellness

The field of artificial intelligence (AI) includes esteemed professionals from technical backgrounds, including computer science, data science, engineering, mathematics, and robotics. While these fields provide the foundation for understanding and developing AI systems, they lack a crucial component: an understanding of psychology—the scientific study of the mind, emotion, and human behavior.

Consulting with the AI community, I’ve learned that most AI professionals have not completed coursework in psychology and have little exposure to the social and behavioral sciences. This knowledge gap can lead to a lack of appreciation of the complexity of human emotion and how it interacts with the cognitive abilities of AI.

As AI systems become more integrated into our daily lives, they must be designed with a deep understanding of psychology to ensure effective, ethical, and responsible implementation.

AI-Integrated Emotional Wellness (AIEW) refers to the broad interface between the cognitive abilities of artificial intelligence and the complexity of human emotion. While acknowledging the irreplaceable importance of authentic, in-person communication, AIEW focuses on how artificial intelligence can foster emotional well-being.

Nearly forty years ago, I began my career teaching college courses, including Introduction to Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Understanding Human Behavior, and Counseling Psychology. Today, as a principal consultant in AIEW, I’ve created a crash course in psychology that draws from these areas to empower the AI community.

Here’s a practical example of how an understanding of psychology can be infused into AI. As machines increasingly interact with people in diverse areas, including customer service, sales, marketing, healthcare, banking, and mental health support, AI can move beyond the cognitive skill of imitating humans and, instead, emulate people performing their respective roles—from the efficient, likable customer service representative to the empathic, warm, and genuine mental health practitioner. By prioritizing emulation, AI platforms can help support users personally and meaningfully.

Integrating psychology into the AI community is not just beneficial—it’s essential. As AI continues to evolve and become more ingrained in our society, it’s crucial that we understand not just the technical aspects of these systems but also the psychological implications. By bridging the gap between these two fields, we can create AI systems that are intelligent, emotionally astute, and capable of fostering emotional wellness.

The AI community can benefit tremendously from a deeper understanding of psychology. Through initiatives like AIEW, we can ensure that future AI systems are designed with a comprehensive understanding of human emotion, leading to more effective, ethical, and responsible AI.


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