Crowdsourcing Collective Emotional Intelligence

Robert R. Morris, Rosalind W. Picard


One of the hallmarks of emotional intelligence is the ability to regulate emotions. While emotions can be regulated in many ways, a particularly powerful approach is cognitive reappraisal – a technique that involves reinterpreting the meaning of a thought or situation. Habitual use of this strategy is linked to many key indices of physical and emotional health, and laboratory studies show it can help downregulate negative emotions, without incurring the physiological costs associated with other regulatory strategies. Unfortunately, cognitive reappraisal is not always easy to apply. Thinking flexibly about stressful thoughts and situations requires creativity and poise, faculties that often elude us when we need them the most. In this paper, we propose an assistive technology that coordinates collective intelligence on demand, to help individuals reappraise stressful thoughts and situations. In two experiments, we assess key features of our design and we demonstrate the feasibility of crowdsourcing empathetic reappraisals with on demand workforces, such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

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