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Needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness shape people’s relationship with AI

Image: Alexa Steinbrück / Better Images of AI / Explainable AI / CC-BY 4.0.

A new study from Tampere University in Finland highlights how people's attitudes towards artificial intelligence (AI) are influenced by their satisfaction of basic psychological needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. This study is the first of its kind to directly explore the connection between these basic needs and AI attitudes.

Two surveys were conducted to investigate human-technology interactions. The first study involved 8,800 respondents from six European countries, revealing that both positive and negative attitudes toward AI were shaped by the satisfaction of these psychological needs. Competence and relatedness were particularly influential in fostering positive AI attitudes, while autonomy played a significant role for Finnish respondents.

In the second study, a longitudinal two-wave approach involving 827 Finnish participants highlighted that an increase in autonomy and relatedness corresponded to higher positivity and lower negativity towards AI.

The research was carried out as part of the UrbanAI project, which explores the role of AI in art and society, and the Self & Technology project, investigating the impact of emerging technologies on people's self-perceptions and identities.