ChatGPT, AI can know us better than we know ourselves, study finds – The Jerusalem Post

Researchers at the University of Philadelphia tested ChatGPT‘s ability to understand and reinterpret our personal narratives as part of narrative therapy.

The study was published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, a peer-reviewed publication.

Recent research has shown that our personal narratives, the collection of personal stories we tell ourselves, have a strong impact on our identity and that reinterpreting that personal narrative can have a strong effect on our self-understanding.

Aiming to see ChatGPT’s ability to understand and reinterpret personal narratives, the researchers asked participants to fill out a demographic questionnaire as well as record “stream-of-consciousness” thoughts over 48 hours.

These were then fed into a version of ChatGPT that had been trained to provide personal narratives for participants based on the data that had been provided.

 Close up of group therapy (credit: INGIMAGE)
Close up of group therapy (credit: INGIMAGE)

Participants were then asked to read the AI-generated personal narrative and rate it out of five for accuracy, and surprisingness, and were asked whether they had learned something new about themselves. 

Accurate AI-generated narratives

Some 96% of participants rated the AI-generated personal narratives as either “completely accurate” or “mostly accurate”, while 73% rated the narratives as “very surprising” or “somewhat surprising”, and 73% also indicated that they learned something about themselves from the narratives.

Several people noted that they had seen patterns of behavior in the AI-generated narrative that they had never noticed about themselves, which researchers say suggests that AI can serve as a useful tool for self-discovery.

The researchers suggest that “AI can support and build on traditional therapy and coaching methods, by providing clients, coaches, and therapists with new insights and further clients’ self-discovery.”

While researchers suggested mostly therapy-related future uses, as with all technological and scientific advances, this will no doubt have far-reaching applications unrelated to psychology

Just as psychological profiling techniques developed in the 50s and 60s were adapted to suit the needs of everyone from police departments, to human resources, to horoscope makers, AI-generated personal narratives will no doubt have similar wide-ranging and unexpected outcomes in the coming decades, according to the researchers.