Research

Learning is a process of persuasion. If we could all "persuade" ourselves to pursue learning, then perhaps we would have stopped at the oldest intelligent tutoring systems—books. The truth of the matter is that not all of us are intrinsically motivated to read a book, yet we need knowledge and skills to function in the modern world. Persuasion goes beyond initiation of learning. It persists throughout the process of engaging our minds, receiving new information and retaining it. Reading a book is not always the best way to persuade our minds to learn. The challenge is then how do we design technologies to turn static book pages into an engaging learning experience that best "persuade" our minds to effectively and efficiently receive and retain knowledge.

As a learning science researcher, my mission is to design technologies to inspire students and to transform their learning experiences. This technology can take on the role of a learning companion, such as a virtual schoolmate; or a youngster who is your pupil; or a virtual double of you that you can train; or a battalion of soldiers that simulate the effect of your plans and commands. As a researcher in artificial intelligence, my goal is to use lessons learned in designing intelligent tutoring technology, to design explainable AI algorithms that make the decision-making behind automatons, such as virtual agents and robots, more transparent to everyday users. My ultimate goal is to use persuasive technologies to foster better human-AI understanding and promote optimal human-AI team performance.

I am interested in innovative training technologies that motivate and inspire one to learn, and transform learning experiences. This technology can take on the role of a learning companion, such as a virtual schoolmate; or youngster who's your pupil, or a virtual double of you that you can train, or a battalion of soldiers that simulate the effect of your plans and commands. I am also interested in applying research in Human Computer Interaction to develop new ways to allow learner to interface with the knowledge in a way that's natural to their cognitive process. Soft skills, or knowledge in ill-defined domains, are challenge to learn through traditional classroom activities. It is a challenge that my research aims to tackle.

Publications

Patents

Interactive Foreign Language Teaching. Johnson, W.L., Samtani, P., Valente, A., Vilhjalmsson, H., Wang, N. US 20070015121 A1

Assessing Progress in Mastering Social Skills in Multiple Categories. Johnson, W.L., Vilhjalmsson, H., Valente, A., Samtani, P., Wang, N. US 20070082324 A1

Journal and Book Chapters

Pynadath, D. V., Barnes, M. J., Wang, N., Chen, J. Y. C. (2018) Transparency Communication for Machine Learning in Human-Automation Interaction. In Zhou, J. and Chen, F. (Eds.) Human and Machine Learning: Visible, Explainable, Trustworthy and Transparent. New York, NY: Springer.

Wang, N., Pynadath, D. V., & Marsella, S. C. (2015). Subjective Perceptions in Wartime Negotiation. IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, 6(2), 118-126.

Gratch, J., Kang, S., Wang, N. (2014) Using Social Agents to Explore Theories of Rapport and Emotional Resonance. In J. Gratch & S. Marsella (Eds.), Social Emotions in Nature and Artifact. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.

Johnson, W. L., Wang, N. (2008). The Role of Politeness in Interactive Educational Software. In C. Hayes and C. Miller (Eds.) Human-Computer Etiquette. New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.

Wang, N., Rizzo, S. (2008). Avatars and Agents, International Encyclopedia of Communication

Wang, N., Johnson, W. L., Mayer, R. E., Rizzo, P., Shaw, E., & Collins, H. (2008). The politeness effect: Pedagogical agents and learning outcomes. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 66(2), 98-112. (Most Cited Paper Award).

Conference Proceedings

Pynadath, D.V., Wang, N., & Barnes, M.J. (2018). Transparency Communication for Reinforcement Learning in Human Robot Interactions. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) of the 27th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Pynadath, D. V., Wang, N., Rovira, E., Barnes, M. J.(2018). Clustering Behavior to Recognize Subjective Beliefs in Human-Agent Teams. In Proceedings of the In Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Autonomous Agents & Multiagent Systems.

Wang, N., Shapiro, A., Feng, A., Zhuang, C., Merchant, C., Schwartz, D., & Goldberg, S. L. (2018). An Analysis of Student Belief and Behavior in Learning by Explaining to a Digital Doppelganger. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Personalization Approaches in Learning Environments (PALE) of the 19th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education.

Pynadath, D.V., Wang, N., & Yang, R. (2018). Simulating Collaborative Learning Through Decision-Theoretic Agents. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Assessment and Intervention during Team Tutoring of the 19th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education.

Wang, N., Shapiro, A., Feng, A., Zhuang, C., Merchant, C., Schwartz, D., & Goldberg, S. L. (2018). Learning by Explaining to a Digital Doppelganger. In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems.

Wang, N., Pynadath, D. V., Rovira, E., Barnes, M. J., Hill, S. G. (2018). Is It My looks? Or Something I Said? The Impact of Explanations, Embodiment, and Expectations on Trust and Performance in Human-Robot Teams In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Persuasive Technology.

Wang, N., Pynadath, D. V., Barnes, M. J., Hill, S. G. (2018). Comparing Two Automatically Generated Explanations on the Perception of a Robot Teammate. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Explainable Robotic Systems of the 13th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction.

Pynadath, D. V., Wang, N., Rovira, E., Barnes, M. J.(2018). A Nearest-Neighbor Approach to Recognizing Subjective Beliefs in Human-Robot Interaction. In Proceedings of The AAAI Workshop on Plan, Activity, and Intent Recognition (PAIR).

Rovira, E., Wang, N., Pynadath, D. V. (2017). Human robotic interaction: investigating perceptions of trust. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics.

Wang, N., Pynadath, D. V., Hill, S. G., Merchant, C. (2017). The dynamics of human-agent trust with POMDP-generated explanations. In International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA), pp. 459-462.

Wang, N., & Johnson, W. L. (2016). Pilot Study with RALL-E: Robot-Assisted Language Learning in Education. In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems. (pp. 514).

Wang, N., Pynadath, D. V., & Hill, S. G. (2016, May). The Impact of POMDP-Generated Explanations on Trust and Performance in Human-Robot Teams. In Proceedings of the 2016 International Conference on Autonomous Agents & Multiagent Systems (pp. 997-1005). International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems.

Wang, N., Pynadath, D. V., Hill, S. G. (2016). Trust Calibration within a Human-Robot Team: Comparing Automatically Generated Explanations. In Proceeding of the 11th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI).

Wang, N., Pynadath, D. V., Hill, S. G. (2015). Building Trust in a Human-Robot Team with Automatically Generated Explanations. In Proceeding of the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC).

Pynadath, D. V., Wang, N., Merchant, C. (2015). Toward Acquiring a Human Behavior Model of Competition vs. Cooperation. In Proceedings of the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC).

Wang, N., Pynadath, D. V., Unnikrishnan, K. V., Shankar, S., & Merchant, C. (2015). Intelligent Agents for Virtual Simulation of Human-Robot Interaction. In Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality, Held as Part of HCI International (pp. 228-239). Springer International Publishing. (Talk)

Wang, N., Pynadath, D. V., Marsella, S. C. Subjective Perceptions in Wartime Negotiation. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction, 2013 (Nominated for Best Paper Award).

Pynadath, D. V., Wang, N., Marsella, S. C. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? An Evaluation of a Simplified Theory of Mind. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, 2013.

Pynadath, D. V., Wang, N., Marsella, S. C. Computational Models of Human Behavior in Wartime Negotiations. In Proceedings of the 35th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 2013.

Wang, N., Pynadath, D., Marsella, S. Toward Automatic Verification of Multiagent Systems for Training Simulations. In Proceedings of 11th International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems, 2012

Georgila, K., Wang, N., Gratch, J. Cross-domain speech disfluency detection. In Proceeding of the 11th Annual SIGdial meeting on Discourse and Dialogue, 2010.

Wang, N., Gratch, J. Don’t Just Stare at Me. In Proceedings of ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 2010.

Wang, N., Gratch, J., W. Lewis Johnson. Facial Expressions and Politeness Effect in Foreign Language Training System. In Proceedings of 10th International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems, 2010.

Wang, N., Gratch, J. Rapport and Facial Expression. In Proc. of The International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction, 2009.

Gratch, J., Marsella, S., Wang, N., Stankovic, B. Assessing the validity of appraisal-based models of emotion. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction, 2009. (Best Paper Award).

Marsella, S., Gratch, J., Wang, N., Stankovic, B. Assessing the validity of a computational model of emotional coping. International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction. Amsterdam, IEEE. 2009.

Wang, N., Gratch, J. Can Virtual Human Build Rapport and Promote Learning? In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, 2009.

Wang, N., Johnson, W. L. The Politeness Effect in an Intelligent Foreign Language Tutoring System. In Proceedings of International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems, 2008.

Wang, N., Marsella, S., Hawkins, T. Individual Differences in Expressive Response: A Challenge for ECA Design. In Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagents Systems, 2008.

Kang, S.H., Gratch, J., Wang, N., Watt, J. Does the Contingency of Agents’ Nonverbal Feedback Affect Users’ Social Anxiety? In Proceedings of the International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, 2008

Kang, S.H., Gratch, J., Wang, N., Watt, J.H. Agreeable People Like Agreeable Virtual Humans. 8th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, Tokyo, Japan 2008

Kang, S.H., Watt, J.H., Gratch, J., Wang, N. Associations between interactants’ personality traits and their feelings of rapport in interactions with virtual humans. The 59th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association. Chicago, 2009.

Gratch, J., Wang, N., Gerten, J., Fast, E., Duffy, R. Creating Rapport with Virtual Agents. 7th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, Paris, France 2007 (Nominated for Best Paper Award).

Wang, N. The Rapport Agent. Gathering of Animated Lifelike Agents at 7th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, Paris, France 2007 (Finalist for GALA Award).

Johnson, W.L., Wang, N. Experience with serious games for learning foreign languages and cultures. SimTecT 2007, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Gratch, J., Wang, N., Okhmatovskaia, A., Lamothe, F., Marsella, S. Morales, M. Can virtual humans be more engaging than real ones? 12th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, 2007.

Wang, N., Marsella, S. Introducing EVG: An Emotion Evoking Game. The 6th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, 2006.

Wang, N., Johnson, W.L., Mayer, R.E., Rizzo, R., Shaw, E., Collins, H. The politeness effect: Pedagogical agents and learning gains. The 12th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, 2005 (Best Student Paper Award).

Wang, N., Johnson, W.L., Rizzo, P., Shaw, E., Mayer, R.E. Experimental evaluation of polite interaction tactics for pedagogical agents. International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, 2005.

Qu, L., Wang, N., Johnson, W.L., Using Learner Focus of Attention to Detect Learner Motivation Factors. The 10th International Conference on User Modeling, 2005.

Rizzo, P., Lee, H., Shaw, E., Johnson, W.L., Wang, N., Mayer, R.E., A Semi-Automated Wizard of Oz Interface for Modeling Tutorial Strategies. 10th International Conference on User Modeling, 2005.

Johnson, W.L., Rizzo, P., Lee, H., Wang, N., Shaw, E. Modeling Motivational and Social Aspects of Tutorial Dialog, Workshop on Modelling Human Teaching Tactics and Strategies, 2004.

Qu, L., Wang, N., Johnson, W.L. Choosing when to interact with learners. International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, 2004.

Teaching

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