Cute Chatbots: Revolutionizing customer support with empathy and humor

Blogpost written by Fynn Wojke and Peter Khalil 

Key points:

  • When online services are not working as intended, AI chatbots that seem friendly and charming appear to lower customer frustrations.
  • As customer service shifts increasingly to the digital world, chatbots that react with a sense of empathy and playfulness may be key to maintain good customer relations.

Customer Service in a Digital World

These days, there’s a noticeable trend of filling online shopping carts more often than physical ones, as visualized in Figure 1. Therefore, it’s now more crucial than ever for companies to prioritize efficient customer support.

Figure 1.

Imagine a package you were waiting for didn’t show up on time, and all you got from the service center was a cold, automated ‘sorry’? Now, picture a chatbot that can actually make you smile about the inconvenience with a playful joke or a cute message. This works not solely as a clever distraction from the inconvenience, but also builds a bridge to the ‘human’ in customer service.

This blogpost is about making artificially intelligent (AI) chatbots ‘act cute.’ At first, this may sound simple, but is based on deep knowledge about how humans respond to cuteness. Apparently, a new study published in 2022 investigates whether chatbots that use playful jokes or cuteness — like the kind we see in babies — can help calm customers down after something goes wrong, like a late delivery.

The Role of a Chatbot’s Behavior

The study’s method is as interesting as the idea itself. They put several people in the situation where an online service went wrong, something we all find annoying.

Then, the researchers asked people to reach out to different chatbots with their problems in a controlled setting: some chatbots had playful and joking characteristics, some chatbots were  ‘cute’, and others acted nothing special. ‘Acting-cute’ here means using playful humor and charm on purpose to make customers happy, especially when they’re having problems with a service. By observing different reactions to varied chatbot behavior, the researchers could observe how these different behaviors from the chatbots affected people’s moods.

Figure 2.

Unveiling the Findings: Behavior Really Matters!

Results were apparent: chatbots that ‘act-cute’ help to ease customer irritation.

To act cute, chatbots adapted two different behaviors, namely ‘whimsical’ and the ‘kindchenschema’. Both strategies work by manipulating the customer’s emotional state through psychological mechanisms rooted in human instincts. So, they aim at redirecting the customer’s focus away from their negative feeling towards the service failure. While whimsical behavior counts on the human desire for entertainment and distraction, the effectiveness of the kindchenschema is rooted in the instinct to nurture and protect.

However, researchers have revealed that the success of this approach depends on the specific situation. For more severe problems or if the customer was not comfortable with technology, chatbots that went for a playful, humorous approach (whimsical) were more effective, especially with men. Chatbots that seemed childlike (kindchenschema), worked better for people who were more at ease with technology and were in general more successful with women.

A Call to Action for Emotionally Intelligent AI

The findings show that personalizing customer service is the route to take.

While a ‘cute’-chatbot may be just right for some people, others may suit different behaviors. Therefore, knowing their customers will be crucial for any online-service provider in the near future. We believe that, as different behavioral strategies can help businesses turn bad customer experiences into good ones, the application of ‘acting-cute’-AI might set a new standard in terms of customer happiness. Thus, we argue that the use of AI will soon not only solve problems but also serves to understand us, empathize with us, and enhance overall customer relation.

While the findings seem cohesive, there is still room for discussion. Given the differences in how men and women respond to different chatbot personalities, we question which other demographic or cultural factors need to be considered by a company when implementing an AI strategy regarding customer service.

As AI is constantly improving nowadays, even able to be indistinguishable from humans in certain tasks, ethical questions arise. We wonder where policy makers will draw the line in a machine’s emotional intelligence, and which ethical considerations would come into play if there will be no restrictions.



Zhang, T., Feng, C., Chen, H. et al. Calming the customers by AI: Investigating the role of chatbot acting-cute strategies in soothing negative customer emotions. Electron Markets 32, 2277–2292 (2022).

The dominance of Instagram influencers in marketing

Blogpost written by Vinh Nghi Ha and Zahara Kalanda

“Ignoring [Instagram Influencer Marketing] is like opening a business but not telling anyone.” KB marketing Agency

Key points:

  • Identifying and choosing the right influencers who will affect a brand´s target audience is key.
  • The perceived value of Instagram influencers is definitely influenced by their number of followers
  • A high number of followers is undeniably cool, but is it always true influence?
  • A unique product is important in order to set a brand apart from its competitors

Instagram Influencers: Why the fuss?

Curiosity killed the cat. First and foremost who is an Instagram influencer? This is a person with a large number of followers who is able to sway their followers´ consumption behaviour, this is done by posting content in either video, photographic or interesting statement (meme) format, with a link referring to a product/service of their interest. Every time a viewer sees the content, they see the link besides it, and usually there is a relationship between the content posted and the product/service of interest, either directly or indirectly.

Instagram influencers have accumulated a large number of followers, whom when shown the right product/service, will take the bait by clicking on the link associated to the product, viewing it and further making a purchase, now that’s powerful!

Most of us if not all of us have seen numerous sponsored posts on our Instagram feeds before, and perhaps went on to click on a link or more.

Every time a viewer buys a product by clicking the link, the influencer earns a commission.


With the rise of influencers on social networks, many brands meet difficulties in determining accounts that could bring huge potential benefits to future target audiences. Another challenge they face is determining how content related to their goods/services is to be communicated between various entities on social networks. For example how to generate multiple shares, likes among others.

Since many consumers can freely express their brand preferences including brand information and product reviews over virtual interactions, consumption has definitely become personal, a whole way of life. Consumers use brands to communicate their identity and in turn assess others based on their consumption behaviour, a phenomenon that has shed light on the fact that consumers´ decisions are influenced by interpersonal sources thus giving Instagram influencers the centre stage.

Electronic word of moth #Instagram

Traditional marketing tactics like email marketing, constant pop-up ads on various websites among others, has led to the advancement of ad-blocking software and spam clicks, hence influencer marketing has been alternatively applied by brands, especially on Instagram. Rather than pushing their ads to their target audience, brands are turning to trusted online personas to get their products and messages out to the consumer. However, despite its growing use, there has been little experimental research on the phenomenon of influencer marketing.

Proven facts

Before we delve deeper, please note that an opinion leader is an influencer whose opinion about a product/service has a big influence on the opinion of others about it, for instance a situation where you might decide to purchase a certain perfume simply because your favourite celebrity has recommended it and they recommended you should click the link below, well that’s it.

In this study , various Instagram accounts with the same profiles and different degrees of followers from low to high were created. The study explores which Instagram influencer is the best marketing choice in terms of number of followers. In order to achieve this, the questions asked were whether one’s number of followers contributes to his/her status as an opinion leader and how it affects general likeability towards him/her.

It was found that Instagram influencers with a high number of followers are perceived as more popular and likeable which in turn leads to increase in ascribed opinion leadership.

Hence it was found that the more followers an influencer had, the more it positively affected the attitudes towards them. for the most through higher perceptions of popularity and for a small part because these higher perceptions of popularity lead people to ascribe more opinion leadership to the influencer

However this perception of popularity does not always lead to opinion leadership. Do you agree?

The thin line between followers and followees


As the common saying goes too much of anything can be bad, there is also a downside to having many followers. The study further portrayed that a high number of followers combined with low number of accounts followed by the influencer can be a recipe for disaster which lowers the trust and credibility of users towards the endorser yet authenticity should precisely be the strength of collaborating with influencers. Let us contemplate about this for a moment as would be consumers by asking ourselves the following questions; Is he/she only focusing mainly at commercial collaborations?, Is this a false account created for advertising purposes?, does she/he see us, care about us his/her followers and can we trust him/her? Among others. Believe it or not, these questions would most likely either push you or hold you back from tapping that link posted by such an influencer.

The product design matters, too

Distinct design products are those that have unique recognisable designs and attributes that set them apart from similar products on the market. The iPhone is a great example of such a product, not only is its appearance different from other phones on the market, so is its mobile operating system the iOS.

The study revealed that such Distinct design products contributed to higher perceived brand uniqueness, consequently fostering more positive attitudes towards the brand.

Interestingly, these positive attitudes towards the brand were more pronounced when the influencer had a moderate number of followers compared to a very high number, simply because the lesser the followers  the less common the product appears to be and the reverse is true.

Wrapping it up

In conclusion, while a high number of followers generally enhances influencer likability, this effect depends on factors such as the number of followees. Additionally, the impact of product design on brand attitudes is nuanced, with the influencer’s follower count influencing the effectiveness of product divergence. These insights provide valuable considerations for marketers aiming to navigate the complexities of influencer collaborations on social media platforms like Instagram.

Penny for your thoughts?

A lot is lacking when it comes to emphasizing the need for brands to consider factors beyond follower counts when selecting influencers. Hence suggesting that the evaluation criteria should encompass various attributes like content quality and engagement.

Brands should invest more in Instagram influencer marketing for there is no doubt that Instagram influencers are increasingly popular and affecting consumers’ attitudes, perceptions, preferences, choices, and decisions.

Furthermore, brands need to focus on the product design itself and find ways of standing out on the market, for its not always only about the number of followers an influencer has. But a unique product is popular too.

Overall, the findings provide valuable insights for marketers aiming to optimize influencer marketing strategies in the dynamic landscape of social media advertising.

What’s your opinion on this?, we would like to here your thoughts and any experiences you have had with influencer marketing on Instagram and other social media platforms. Please comment below.



 De Veirman, M., Cauberghe, V., & Hudders, L. (2017). Marketing through Instagram influencers: The impact of number of followers and product divergence on brand attitude.

Unveiling Shadows: Exploring The Dark Side of Social Media in the Workplace

Blogpost written by Papa Yaw Forson and Cahit Calasin

Key Points:

  • Employees who use social media platforms could be vulnerable to online social comparison.
  • The drawbacks of social media use were examined in relation to online social comparison.
  • Using social media to engage in online social comparison may have a detrimental effect on workers‘ productivity.

Social media has integrated itself into our everyday lives in the age of digital interaction, impacting the way we share information and communicate. But social media’s influence is not limited to our private lives; it also has an impact on the workplace, causing concerns about its place there as well. Huang and Fan (2022) issued a research paper that explores this fascinating topic by examining „The Dark Side of Social Media in the Workplace“ from the standpoint of social comparison.

Source: CareerAddict. (n.d.). Negative Effects of Social Media in the Workplace

First and foremost, we have to give the social media it’s flowers for the enormous benefits companies have had using it in the working place. Social media has improved communication, branding, productivity, advertisement, etc. and the list goes on. But as stated earlier, online social comparison among employees can have a negative consequences of their psychological well-being and work behaviour and this is the focus of our blogpost.

Online Social Media Comparison

People evaluate their own social and personal value by comparing themselves to other people. This can be seen in the workplace on social media, where staff members frequently post snippets of their career successes, life events, and even difficulties at work. The effects of these social comparisons on workplace dynamics and employee well-being are examined in Huang and Fan’s research. Here is link to the research paper, Click Here.  An example of how online social comparison can affect, A PhD candidate whose research paper has not been published may feel intimidated after seeing on his friend’s social media profile, who is also a PhD candidate, that this friend’s paper has been published in a notable journal. Online social comparison is an extension of the traditional social comparison in the context of social media. Nevertheless, individuals would always want to portray positive information about their work achievements and journeys on their social media profile. So, who is to be blamed? The people who decide to share their milestones or people who are offended by what they see?

The Catalyst: Ego-Depletion

When employees compare themselves to others on social media, it can make them feel drained and affect how well they do their job. This feeling of being drained is called ego-depletion, and it’s like a link between online social comparison and job performance. In simple terms, comparing on social media changes how employees feel and think (the first part), which then leads to a temporary drop in their ability to do well at work (the next part). So, it’s like a chain reaction – social media comparisons impact how we feel and think, and that, in turn, affects how we do our job.

Source: Verywell Mind. (n.d.). Ego Depletion: What It Is and Why It Happens. Verywell Mind

What to do next?

The research sheds light on the negative aspects of social media use at work but also provides useful information for potential solutions. Promoting an environment of openness and honesty in the workplace can assist staff members in communicating their struggles and accomplishments more truthfully, both online and off as well. Companies should also think about putting in place social media policies that encourage appropriate usage and forbid overzealous self-promotion. Furthermore, encouraging a supportive and welcoming work environment can lessen the negative effects of social comparison by fostering a sense of unity and mutual success.

Take home

Social media undoubtedly has many benefits at the workplace. However, from the lens of online social comparison, information on social media among employees leads to online social comparison which subsequently leads to negative emotions and psychological states of employees depending on their level of ego-depletion, which again leads to poor job performance. Managers and employees can mitigate this problem by knowing the rational use of social media, being particular about what information to consume and lastly creating an atmosphere for employees to feel appreciated.



CareerAddict. (n.d.). Negative Effects of Social Media in the Workplace. CareerAddict.

Huang, X., & Fan, P. (2022). The dark side of social media in the workplace: A social comparison perspective. Computers in Human Behaviour, 127, Article 107377. .

Verywell Mind. (n.d.). Ego Depletion: What It Is and Why It Happens. Verywell Mind. .

“To listen or not to listen” – Social media use in lectures

Blogpost written by Julian Canaj and Kashif Khan

Are you experiencing fatigue and struggling to engage with the lecture content? Your phone discreetly vibrates, and suddenly, five minutes later, you find yourself immersed into TikTok, sneakily hiding your device beneath the table. Rest assured, this behavior is not unique. Extensive use of your smartphone can be part of the behavior called ‘procrastination’. Other aspects of it include a certain delay of tasks, sometimes even up to the point of having worse results in e. g. tests. Studies have found that scrolling through social media (=procrastinating) can not only be distracting but might also lead you to a “smartphone problem”.

Key Points 

  • Problematic smartphone use and the connection to procrastination 
  • Social media use as part of procrastination in lecture settings

Source of Image: Süddeutsche Zeitung

People can develop a habit to delay their tasks to a future time. This practice is most common for tasks that are perceived as boring, difficult or unpleasant. The so-called procrastination is a problematic behavior which is linked to the additional stress and depression. In the modern digital world, procrastination is often perceived as scrolling in your smartphone while using social media.

Using social media platforms is amongst the main activities while using smartphones. Many people use the platforms to be constantly available and to connect online. While these are noble objectives, studies show that getting immediately little dopamine kicks through e.g. messages and notifications serve as a rewarding system and create a demand for attention.

Is it just a coincidence that similar features are also used to program gambling machines? Not at all.

The mentioned elements are purposely designed to keep the users engaged, making it difficult to stop procrastinating via social media, especially for individuals with lower self-control.

Additionally, the constant availability of smartphone technology make it easier to use them extensively. If the usage takes up a large amount of every day’s life and results in problems for other aspects of life’s chores, it can be defined as “problematic smartphone use”. This is defined by the fact that users create dependence on their smartphones and therefore negatively influencing their daily life.

More around the study!

The study in Computer in Human Behavior (2018) conducted by Dmitri Rozgonjuk, Mari Kattago and Karin Täht uncovered how the procrastination and problematic smartphone use are connected. To uncover this question, this relationship is being studied while using social media in lecture as a specific form of procrastinatory behavior.

How did they find it?

Three hundred and sixty-six Estonian students answered different questionnaires connected to smartphone addiction, procrastination and the social media use in lectures.

This research found that people that procrastinate usually engage in more problematic smartphone use, consequently leading them to have negative academic outcomes. As a result, procrastination is not only linked to the problematic use of smartphone devices, but also implies that it might be the root cause of problematic smartphone use.

Additionally, the authors revealed that procrastination is connected to the social media use in lectures. This fact is supported by the design features and behavioral habits formed from social media platform usage. As social media platforms are widely founded in smartphones, this can to a greater extent drive higher social media engagement in lectures.

Finally, an important discovery arises from the fact that the social media used in lectures, as a form of procrastination boosts even further the problematic smartphone use.

What does this suggest?

As the smartphone can be found almost in every pocket of the student, using social media during lectures takes away attention from the lecture itself, resulting in poorer grades for the student who procrastinates.

Brief conclusion

This paper discovered that social media use in lecture, as part of procrastination, is linked with problematic smartphone use. For you as a student, this study can help you handle procrastination better. Additionally, by addressing procrastination tendencies and guiding responsible technology use, educational outcomes can potentially be improved.



Rozgonjuk, D., Kattago, M., & Täht, K. (2018). Social media use in lectures mediates the relationship between procrastination and problematic smartphone use. Computers in Human Behavior89, 191-198.

Are We Equipped for the Digital Future? Unraveling Trends in 21st-Century

Blogpost written by Mohammad Owais Khan and Sadaqat Ghafoorzai

Key Points:

  • Take the spotlight on the 21st century skills, emerging as the essential superheroes for thriving in the digital era.
  • Communication steals the show in the digital literacy realm, reigning supreme in educational publications.
  • Let the exploration begin! Educational researchers, dive into the digital realm, bridging academia and real-world digital expertise to meet future demands.

You’re navigating the maze of the internet, toggling between apps, and decoding information in a world that seems to communicate in bits and codes. In the midst of this digital jungle, have you ever wondered if your skills match the demands of the 21st century? That’s the mystery we’re exploring.

Think about the last time you collaborated on a project, communicated an idea effectively, or faced a problem head-on. These aren’t just moments; they are the building blocks of what experts call 21st-century skills. Today, we unravel the secrets of mastering these skills, offering a compass for your journey through the digital age. So, be ready, because the digital playground is about to get more exciting, and you’re at the center of it all!

In an important study by Vered Siber-Varod and team (2019), they looked back over the years (from 1980 to 2016) to see how digital skills have changed. What did they discover? A bunch of really helpful information about the skills you need to do well in today’s digital world.

The Big Seven Skills

 Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Information Literacy, Problem-solving, and Socio-emotional skills. These aren’t just buzzwords; they are the superheroes of the 21st-century’s learning domain. In a world dominated by screens and codes, mastering these skills becomes the golden ticket to navigating the complex digital landscape.

Collaboration is when different people with different skills work together smoothly, creating something amazing together, Communication acts like a beautiful melody, helping everyone understand each other better. As things come together, Creativity adds new and exciting ideas to make everything more innovative, Critical Thinking is carefully examining information and guiding you toward smart decisions. Meanwhile, Information Literacy as the helpful guide, helping everyone understands and uses complex information. When things get tough, Problem-solving steps in to fix issues and find solutions and finally, Socio-emotional Skills are like the feelings that create a positive vibe, helping everyone work together happily. All these skills work like a team, getting us ready for the challenges of the digital world.

Communication Takes the Crown!

Communication emerges as the rockstar skill, stealing the spotlight in the digital literacy realm. In the ERIC Database, the pulse of educational publications, communication reigns supreme. It’s the most prominent term. But don’t underestimate its trusty partners; problem solving and collaboration—they’re right there, sharing the stage.

Tech! Where are you hiding?

Now, here’s the plot twist. In this era of technology and while we’re immersed in a digital revolution, there’s a surprising scarcity of interest in the term „Technology“ within research.  It’s like having a blockbuster movie with no mention of the specialFX team. By 2016, in the database of educational resources (ERIC), this term barely crossed the 20% mark, indicating a void in understanding the skills crucial for our tech-centric world.

Unveiling the Research Riddles

In the finale, the study sounds the alarm. Educational researchers, it’s time to roll up your sleeves. Dive deep into it. The digital age demands a spotlight on these skills, and it’s high time we answer the call. The future waits, equipped with skills that bridge the gap between academic knowledge and real-world digital prowess. Let the exploration begin!

Final Thoughts

As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of education in the 21st century, this study lightens the path forward for educators, learners and researchers. 21 century learning skills emerge as the keystones of success in a digital era.

For educators, integrating these skills into teaching methodologies is vital, fostering a generation equipped to thrive in the complexities of the digital world. To learners, it offers a roadmap for personal and academic achievement, emphasizing the practical importance of these skills beyond the classroom. For researchers, the identified gaps in technology-related research signals for exploration. In essence, this is more than an academic endeavor, it’s a call to act, urging us all to embrace and empower the digital literacy competencies to define our success in the educational landscape of the future.



Silber-Varod, V., Eshet-Alkalai, Y. and Geri, N. (2019), Tracing research trends of 21st-century learning skills. Br J Educ Technol, 50: 3099-3118.


Hurray… Analysis of self-regulatory learning strategies is going to be more effortless!

Blogpost written by Vishnu Mohan and Gopi Krishnan

Key Points

  • Analysing the self-regulatory process of complex science learning
  • potential and opportunities of artificial intelligence (AI) methods to analyse self-reporting protocols for recognizing cognitive and metacognitive strategies of self-regulated learning.
  • Efficiency of human classifier and AI classifier

cottonbro studio / Pexels

Are you frustrated about the progress your tasks projects and studies, don’t worry an AI powered model is being designed to analyse Self-regulatory learning and its strategies. Self-regulated learning is a cyclical process, wherein the student plans for a task, monitors their performance, and then reflects on the outcome (Zimmermann). Self-regulated learning helps individuals to drive their learning car through a right track. It is evident that learners those who failed to be in resonance with Self-Regulated Learning could benefit less from their learning journey.

Cognitive strategies are a combination of active learning technologies for example summarizing information, enhancing comprehension and retention. As well as Meta cognitive strategies focus on self-awareness and regulation. Allowing individuals to monitor their own learning process. In collective, these strategies create a powerful working model to improve self-regulated learning it is clear that the proper analysis of self-regulatory learning Enhance one’s learning experience. The learning is entered into digital era the emphasis should also go to self-regulated digital learning. It’s clear that employing self-regulated learning strategies will facilitate learning autonomy.

It is found that recognizing cognitive and metacognitive started this of self-regulated learning through conventional methods is time consuming as well as impossible to an extent.

Here a study done by C-Y Wang and John J.H Lin Is important as well as relevant done with the to investigate the potential and opportunities of an artificial intelligence mother to analyse self-reporting protocols for recognizing cognitive and metacognitive strategies of self-regulatory learning

Scope of the study

In this digital era, usage of artificial intelligence in self-regulatory learning is popular. If a machine learning system is able to extract cognitive and meta cognitive an activity from a complex data set will make the analysis easier. Do artificial intelligence already became one of the most influential technologies in digital learning here we are standing with an argument well-functioning AI based classification will be helpful

The study

Aim of this study is crystal clear and understandable as well as that will definitely drag our attention to the result. Researchers explore the scope of an artificial intelligence model to classify Cognitive and metacognitive moves in complex science tasks. Rather than a research or study it’s an effort to build a bidirectional artificial intelligence powered Long-Term Short-Term Memory (recurrent neural network (RNN) in which cells are connected along a temporal sequence) to classify cognitive or metacognitive activities implemented and self-reported by the learners during the task-solving process.

In a nutshell, C.-Y. Wang, John J.H. Lin conducted this study to in this study, we aim to explore the potential and opportunities of utilizing an AI model to support the identification of cognitive and metacognitive activities from verbatim protocols of scientific explanations evaluation tasks in a Self-regulatory learning context

The fact that human coders need a variety of domain knowledge to analyse cognitive or metacognitive information increases the feasibility of an artificial intelligence model, and that a human-cantered perspective can help an artificial intelligence model provide information for decision-making can be considered as fuels for this study.

Along with exploring the scope of an AI model researchers specifically emphasized on (1) how the way the AI is built (its structure) and the dropout rate used during training affect how well it works or performs its tasks. (2) To what extent are the judgements between human and AISE consistent? (3) What differences can occur between human-based methods and AISE, and where do these differences potentially come from?


To achieve our goal, a Long-Term Short-Term Memory model called AISE was designed to recognize cognitive and metacognitive moves from long narratives. The whole procedure in implementing AISE consists of five stages, namely data collection for the SRL task, data labelling, data preprocessing, implementation of AISE, and evaluation of AISE. 39 Undergraduate students from forums of social media in northern Taivan selected as participants of the study. After the above-mentioned stages different statistical test and a qualitative analysis conducted to have solutions on above mentioned specific concerns


After such a scientific and statistical methods and analysis, it’s found that potential of AI model and some points of improvement to be done.

The specific emphasize of the study brought a very clear results the study says that machine learning is capable of classifying learners Cognitive and meta cognitive strategies from thinking process protocols, but one critical think which must understand is sample size of the study was limited. But statistical data and analysis shown a fair consistency between humans and AISE. Moreover, the application of AISE own similar task but with different topics also shown a very good performance.

Beyond these, we found that the accuracy of the LSTM model is affected by complex text patterns containing both temporal cues and extended segments involving multiple cognitive and metacognitive actions ie co-occurring or overlaid cognitive and metacognitive activities in a paragraph.


This study sum ups with a hope that an AI model can work fairly well to support analysing self – regulated learning, that is self-reporting protocols for cognitive and meta cognitive strategies. In our view the discrepancies founded can be treated with more structured and educated machine system.

As well as this research broadens the doors for further research about how AI models can perform more effectively with long verbatim, text, dataset. Even though this research explored the scope of AI in analysis of Self-regulated learning still discussed urges on this topic. After reading this paper, we are thinking about how an automatically periodic feedback system can amplify self-regulatory learning. Which will help learners and researchers to review their process.



Wang & Lin (2023): Utilizing artificial intelligence to support analyzing self-regulated learning: A preliminary mixed-methods evaluation from a human-centered perspective.

Huang, S., & Wang, H. (2016). Bi-lstm neural networks for Chinese grammatical error diagnosis. dec (Osaka, Japan).


Papamitsiou, Z., & Economides, A. A. (2019). Exploring autonomous learning capacity from a self-regulated learning perspective using learning analytics. British Journal of Educational Technology, 50(6), 3138–3155.

Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview. Theory into Practice, 41(2), 64–70.

To Phub or Not to Phub: The Impact of Smartphone Usage during Social Interactions

New findings highlight the effects of using smartphones together and coping strategies.

Blogpost written by Tamás Lukács and Tianci Chen


  • Being on your phone during social interactions affects everyone involved negatively
  • Using phones together promotes bonding between each other
  • The way we address issues related to smartphone usage during social interactions also plays an important role

We all know the feeling of being phubbed – being ignored because someone else is immersed with their smartphone during a conversation: We feel excluded and might even question if we are worth their time. But what about our own smartphone engagements during social interactions or using a smartphone together? And are there ways we can address these issues to moderate our feelings when we are being phubbed?

Previous studies showed that phubbing occurs in a large portion of our daily conversations, however the exact effects on our social relationships still haven’t been fully explored. To find out more about this, a recent survey with 840 young adult smartphone users unraveled the effects of phubbing, i.e. ignoring someone else by engaging with our smartphone, being phubbed and co-use, i.e. watching a video together on a smartphone, on perceived friendship satisfaction and social isolation.

Being Phubbed and Phubbing

As expected, being phubbed leads to a decrease in friendship satisfaction (-12%) and increases feelings of social isolation (28%), which can result in a psychological distance that may impact your individual mental well-being.

But beware that feelings of social isolation were also evoked through engaging in phubbing yourself (19%). This could be due to feeling less included through engaging with your smartphone instead of with your friends and goes hand-in-hand with the concept of absent presence, i.e. physically being there but your mind being somewhere else, namely on your smartphone.

However and contrary to popular belief, the study uncovered that phubbing didn’t directly impact your perception of friendship satisfaction. The reason could be the omnipresence of smartphones. This means that users are already able to communicate effectively while engaging with their smartphones or smartphone usage is already expected within close- friendship social settings and thus doesn’t affect friendship satisfaction.

Using a Smartphone Together

The survey also included questions about the mutual use of smartphones in social settings as there hasn’t been much research done about the effects of using your smartphone as a means for social interaction, such as watching a video together. The results indicate a positive effect on friendship satisfaction (52%) and participants perceiving being less socially isolated (-14%). So why not show your friend the funny dog videos you are watching anyway during the time you spend together?

“Hey, talk to me!”

The survey suggests that coping strategies, i.e. the way you deal with being phubbed, might ease the burden of being phubbed on your perceived friendship satisfaction and social isolation. Coping strategies can be direct , i.e. expressing that you would like your friend to get off their smartphone, or avoidant, i.e. mirroring behavior and scrolling through social media yourself.

The authors found that direct coping strategies helped to reduce the negative effects of being phubbed on friendship satisfaction (6%). The impact was smaller for those less likely to make use of such means. However, the effect was insignificant for participants that were more likely to use direct coping strategies.

On the other hand, avoidant coping strategies strengthened the link between being phubbed and perceived social isolation (6%). It was also the more favored coping strategy among the young adults. Both findings indicate that it might be worth reminding your friends, once in a while, that they are supposed to be spending time with you and not with their smartphones.

Final Thoughts

It is difficult to navigate through the high seas of social interactions in our time of constant interconnectedness through our smartphones. But given these findings, the authors provide some practical suggestions for handling smartphone usage in live conversations. Firstly, addressing the issue with our conversation partner is crucial, as avoiding it only promotes social isolation. Minimizing phone-related distractions, i.e. muting calls and notifications, discussing clear boundaries for smartphone use, and encouraging joint smartphone activities are also among the recommendations.

When we find our partner’s phubbing behavior annoying it is also best to address the issue directly rather than avoiding talking about it or looking at the smartphone ourselves. If we must use our smartphones however, it is best to include the other person somehow, if we are only looking at funny dog videos anyway. These tips might mitigate disruptions in our conversations.

Knowing all these, of course, won’t solve every phubbing-related misunderstanding with your friends or partner; however, hopefully, now you have the tools to navigate these situations better and engage in more connected conversations in your friendships.



Stevic, A., & Matthes, J. (2023). Co-present smartphone use, friendship satisfaction, and social isolation: The role of coping strategies. Computers in Human Behavior, 149, 107960.

Swipe & Spill: How Do Women Master the Rejection Tango on Bumble?

Blogpost written by Beyza Çay and Neetu Kanwal 


  • Ghosting to avoid awkward endings: Many women on Bumble choose to stop talking without explaining to avoid uncomfortable goodbyes.
  • Talking on Bumble can deepen understanding: Continuing to talk can help people know more about each other, even if a Bumble conversation ends in rejection.
  • Risk of feeling drained in online dating: People who use Bumble a lot might find it tiring, and they may not share more than they would in face-to-face conversations.

In the era of digital romance, dating apps have become a part of the modern journey of quest for love. As the second-most popular dating app in the United States, with over five million users, Bumble plays a significant role in reshaping traditional dating norms. It is called a “feminist dating app” empowering women to take the initiative. However, as more people embrace dating apps it becomes important to understand how users navigate rejecting partners. This study, conducted by Audrey Halversen, Jesse King, and Lauren Silva, delves into the largely unexplored realm of how female Bumble users navigate rejection strategies online.

Image by Freepik on Freepik.

The research suggests that as the number and length of messages exchanged increases, people tend to share more personal information about themselves, a phenomenon known as self-disclosure. Additionally, it explores whether the amount of personal information a person shares affects their communication patterns and other person’s willingness to share more about themselves. It tries to prove that using Bumble frequently encourages users to open up more and offers higher chance to find a long-term partner through the app.

Ghosting Trend on Bumble

The study sheds light on women’s rejection strategies on Bumble with a focus on „ghosting.“ Ghosting refers to ceasing communication without providing an explanation and emerges as a method of rejection on the app. This aligns with the nature of relationships begin on platforms where connections are often in their early stages and users may choose to ignore others because it is easy, and relationships can be temporary.

For the purpose of answering the research questions, 384 women who recently have rejected a Bumble match whom they had exchanged messages with but had not met in-person were recruited to take part in a scale-based online survey with the focus of seven key measurements.

Understanding Women’s Rejection Tactics

As the study unfolds, a compelling pattern emerges regarding how female Bumble users handle rejection. 90% of women prefer to reject their partners by different forms of ghosting such as sudden ghosting, deleting their online profile, unmatching the person, and becoming less and less available over time. While different ways of ghosting are commonly preferred among women, being upfront about their decision and confronting the match ranks at the bottom.

As suggested, study proves that when women exchange a greater number of messages and have a longer communication with their match, they tend to reveal more about themselves. Self-disclosure increases, so does the likelihood of finding a potential partner. As women share more about themselves, their perceived disclosure from their match also increases. Thus, it becomes more and more stressful to reject this person. Yet, how do all these factors affect the various ways these women handle rejection? Those with higher levels of self-disclosure, perceived partner disclosure, and stress of rejecting their match prefer to disappear from the platform altogether. They choose to ghost by deleting their accounts and leaving their rejected match with only the label „Deleted Account“. This not only shows disinterest towards the match but also online dating in general. In contrast, those with lower self-disclosure levels prefer to ghost by simply unmatching. This way, the rejector’s profile disappears from the rejectee’s conversation list, displaying a lack of interest while keeping their online profile for potential matches.

Effects of Ghosting on Others

The study reveals that unmatching is a more common strategy than deleting accounts, suggesting that many users continue to online-date on Bumble after rejecting a match. While unmatching is less direct, it lacks the closure that an open and honest rejection might provide.

Other rejection strategies mentioned are „sudden ghosting“ without unmatching and „slow fading“. In both scenarios, the rejector’s profile remains visible, suggesting the possibility of future interaction. Some women may use these tactics to minimize the emotional impact on the rejectee, showing empathy and potentially easing their own feelings of rejection guilt.

On the other hand, confronting a match, being open about the rejection and its reasons is the least favored strategy. Only factor that is positively associated with confrontation is age. Women tend to reject their match by being open and upfront as they get older, challenging the trend of preferring non-confrontational methods.

This study shows that women often use ghosting on Bumble to end early relationships without confrontation. Despite rejection, continued Bumble communication fosters mutual self-disclosure. Additionally, frequent online dating may lead to communication burnout, limiting disclosure compared to face-to-face interactions.



Halversen, A., King, J., & Silva, L. (2021). Reciprocal self-disclosure and rejection strategies on bumble. In Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (Vol. 39, Issue 5, pp. 1324–1343). SAGE Publications.

Suddenly, a screen came between us

Blogpost written by Hassan Faraj and Daniela Martinez Jimenez

Being ignored by one’s partner using their cell phone while in your company may have an influence in your daily perception of relationship satisfaction and personal outcomes.

Key points:

  • The harmful combination of “phone” and “snubbing”.
  • Effects in romantic relationships.
  • “Getting even” partner response as a result.

Taken from:

Smartphones are useful, among a lot of other functionalities, to connect us with people beyond our immediate reach, fostering virtual connections. However, they have also emerged as a disruptive force in face-to-face interactions, particularly within romantic relationships in today’s digital era.

The phenomenon of phubbing, or phone snubbing, has captured the attention of academic researchers. This social problem has been previously associated with negative after-effects related to how the person perceives the current status of the relationship.

The research paper by Tessa Thejas Thomas, Katherine B. Carnelley, Claire M. Hart, published in Computers in Human Behavior adopted a daily diary approach in order to give insight to three specific concerns related to these everyday technology-driven interruptions of couple interaction, from the point of view of the Phubbee or recipient:

  1. What are the consequences of phubbing your partner in terms of their well-being and perception of relationships satisfaction?
  2. How do partners respond when they are phubbed?
  3. What are partner’s motives for choosing to pick their own phone and use it (retaliate) when they feel phubbed?

The last two were the primary focus of the study, given the fact that there is previous theoretical background related to the outcomes of partner phubbing but not so much in respects to retaliation and what incentives phubbees take into account for imitating their partner’s smartphone use.

So, how did they do it?

In the aim of addressing these concerns, a total of 75 participants recruited from social media, online forums, and word of mouth, were asked to complete a 10-day diary, where the first day involved demographic questions and the following 9 daily diaries measured factors related to the topic, with a “not at all” to “a great deal” scale generally.

And what did they find?

The study found that daily perceived partner phubbing decreases the relationship satisfaction. Simultaneously, participants also reported greater feelings of anger/frustration on days where the perception of Phubbing was high. However, the personal well-being, that was evaluated considering the self-esteem, depressive mood, and anxious mood, was not affected by the phubbing, which we found very surprising.

In respect of the different explored responses to partner phubbing, high level of phubbing was related to greater phubbee curiosity and resentment and not to conflict creation or ignoring the partners actions. Furthermore, as expected, partner phubbing was also associated with retaliation. It was found that individuals may retaliate by phubbing their partner back due to various motivations, including revenge, need for support, and need for approval.

It is time for reflection

The research paper sheds light on a common behavior and calls on individuals to be mindful and become more aware of their smartphone use during social interactions. Additionally, understanding the motivations behind retaliatory behaviors can help individuals recognize the negative consequences of phubbing and develop strategies to reduce its occurrence.



Thomas, T. T., Carnelley, K. B., & Hart, C. M. (2022). Phubbing in romantic relationships and retaliation: A daily diary study. Computers in Human Behavior, 137, 107398.

Self-Representation on Social Media: What Inspires Your Posts?

Blogpost written by Hanif Effah Dadzie and Pamela Belén Herrera Justiniano

Every now and then we get the desire to share certain interests of ours on social media. Thoughts, popular quotes, pictures, films, music, among others, are some of the content we share on our platforms. But, have we ever stopped to ask the one question:

What really motivates us to share the contents we post?

Let us take a moment to go through some highlighted inspirations as we read on, reflect, and realize what has been driving us to post on social media. We will focus mainly on music and film sharing, as we take a look at a study conducted in 2018, “Click here to look clever: Self-presentation via selective sharing of music and film on social media” , by Benjamin K. Johnson and Giulia Ranzini. The study showed how the need to fit in, be your authentic self, or showcase the best version of yourself might end up being reflected in your choice of music and film sharing.

Key points:

  • Selective sharing on social media
  • Experimental findings
  • Implications of selective sharing

The study

Johnson and Ranzini introduce three motives for the presenting one’s self that might lead to selective patterns of sharing media content. The need to be unique, which they term as actual-self. The desire to exhibit characteristics that aligns with the expectations of others, which is termed as own-ideal self. The third term they introduce is the other-ideal self, which refers to the sense of belongingness.

The study consisted of a group of 168 Facebook active users that were divided into three groups. Each one was asked to imagine one of the three situations: they wished to express themselves authentically, wished to make a highly positive impression on others, or wished to express their identification with a social group of their own choosing. With that scenario in mind they were asked to list three songs and films they would be likely to post, or discuss, on their Facebook page. Additionally, they were given questionnaires to measure traits like self-esteem, need for uniqueness, involvement, sharing propensity, and Facebook intensity as well as their perception of their own answers.


At the end of the study, it was revealed that the self-presentation motives do have an effect on the online sharing of particular types of media. Those who were asked to imagine a situation where they wanted to identify with a certain group (other-ideal self), listed songs and films they later rated as less unique, contrary to those were asked to imagine expressing themselves to impress others (own-ideal self) and those were asked to express their true selves (actual-ideal self).
This shows that in a setting in which we are thinking of how others might perceive us, we tend to pull towards more mainstream media in an attempt to fit in. Those assigned to the own-ideal self group chose more high-status music and films. Interestingly, there was no significant impact observed for guilty pleasures, leading the authors to think perhaps they’re unlikely to be shared at all.

Ultimately, motives for presenting oneself online impact the media they share. Those contemplating others‘ perceptions leaned towards standard and popular content, while those emphasizing a positive self-image chose more high-status material. Those with an already intense presence on social media don’t comply with this, as they already have an established online persona.

So, next time you hit “share”, think about this: it’s not just about the catchy song or popular movies; it’s about the story you’re telling about yourself! Whether it’s fitting in, being true, or leaving a lasting impression, our posts are our digital personas in action, our own digital fingerprint.

Source: “Click here to look clever: Self-presentation via selective sharing of music and film on social media”