A recent article featured in Telematics and Informatics unveils a crucial revelation: the degree to which individuals meet their inherent psychological requisites for autonomy (command over actions), competence (proficiency in tasks), and relatedness (interpersonal bonds) significantly molds their viewpoints regarding artificial intelligence.
The study adopted the paradigm of Self-Determination Theory, asserting that surroundings fostering the fulfillment of these fundamental psychological needs can result in heightened intrinsic motivation, well-being, and optimal performance. Furthermore, the study’s findings underscore that the satisfaction of these requisites substantially fosters favorable attitudes toward AI, with competence and relatedness exerting particularly substantial influence.
Jenna Bergdahl, a researcher associated with the UrbanAI project at Tampere University in Finland, notes, “Our investigation unveiled that our yearnings to experience capability, connection, and control exert an impact on our perspectives about artificial intelligence. These sentiments, classified as basic psychological needs, can determine whether we develop a positive or negative inclination towards AI.”
To fathom the correlation between psychological requirements and perspectives regarding AI, the researchers executed two studies that investigated attitudes towards AI grounded in the principles of self-determination theory and fundamental psychological needs—namely, autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
In the initial study encompassing six European nations, they uncovered a linkage between diminished contentment of these needs and a more pessimistic outlook toward AI. Conversely, the presence of competence and relatedness cultivated optimistic attitudes. For Finns, autonomy additionally emerged as a significant contributor to favorable AI attitudes.
In the subsequent study involving Finnish participants, the researchers observed that heightened satisfaction in autonomy and relatedness translated into more positive AI attitudes and reduced negativity.
Furthermore, the researchers consistently identified the impacts of autonomy, competence, and relatedness in curbing negativity directed towards AI. Participants who perceived a greater sense of autonomy and competence not only displayed reduced negativity but also exhibited heightened positivity towards AI.
The research underscores the notable impact of fundamental psychological needs, notably competence and relatedness, on fostering favorable perspectives regarding artificial intelligence across six European nations. While competence and relatedness consistently wield influence on positive AI attitudes, the role of autonomy exhibits variation, particularly in Finland. This underscores the distinctive nature of AI attitudes compared to conventional technology acceptance.
Therefore, this study bridges a void by delving into the link between psychological needs and attitudes towards AI, underscoring the significance of acknowledging our intrinsic “humanity” and experiencing a sense of worthiness, capability, and autonomy in the presence of an intelligence that competes with, and perhaps surpasses, our own.
The study’s primary insights can be succinctly summarized as follows:
- Individuals who possess a sense of capability, connection, and control are more inclined towards positive attitudes regarding AI. Specifically, those who perceive the ability to utilize technology on their own terms, akin to respondents from Finland, tend to exhibit a more favorable perspective towards AI.
- To effectively tap into the potential of AI, it’s essential to acknowledge the diverse viewpoints and apprehensions people hold about this technology.
- By ensuring that people’s basic psychological needs are met when engaging with AI, we can enhance the acceptance and utilization of these technologies in ways that are adaptable and productive.
In response to how organizations incorporating AI into their operations can enhance employee engagement, satisfaction, and acceptance of AI-driven changes in the workplace, the author suggests a two-fold approach:
a. Foster employees’ self-assurance b. Cultivate an environment of interconnectedness among AI users
“To enhance AI engagement and acceptance, organizations can align their AI implementation strategies with the principles of self-determination theory. By addressing employees’ psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness, organizations can create a positive and supportive milieu for embracing AI-driven transformations,” concludes the author.
A comprehensive interview with researcher Jenna Bergdahl discussing her research can be accessed here: Unveiling an Instinctive Solution to Mitigate AI Concerns.