Emotion and cognition in the age of AI


Emotion and cognition in the age of AI is an Economist Intelligence Unit report commissioned by Microsoft. It explores, via an international survey, expert interview panel and academic literature review, how educators view the relationship between emotional well-being and learning. Covering attributes including resilience, self-regulation, emotional literacy, autonomy and mastery, the research engaged 762 educators across 15 countries*, from primary and secondary level teachers to support officers, administrators and school leaders. The following experts also generously gave their time:

  • Andreas Schleicher, director, Directorate of Education and Skills, OECD
  • Dr Alejandro Adler, director, International Education, Positive
  • Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania
  • Meik Wiking, author, and founder, The Happiness Research Institute
  • Gabriel Heller-Sahlgren, research director, Centre for Market Reform
  • of Education
  • Dr Marc Brackett, founding director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
  • Dr Lim Lai Cheng, executive director, SMU Academy, Singapore
  • Management University
  • Kate Sachs Leventhal, chief project officer, CorStone

Executive summary

Schools have long recognized the importance of emotional well-being in their students, but primarily as a form of pastoral care, in reaction
to trauma or distress. A growing network of teachers, pedagogy researchers and psychologists now call for a more foundational
integration of social and emotional learning that recognizes how mindsets and moods shape children’s ability to acquire knowledge and
understand themselves and the fast-changing world around them. In the 21st century, with artificial intelligence (AI) and automation
reshaping work and life, there is a growing fear that process-driven jobs will be done by robots, with increasing unemployment affecting the
humans that once carried them out. Skills centred in the interpersonal, empathic and creative realms could become the key human differential
in the labour market of tomorrow, and those with strengths in these domains—innate or acquired—will be best placed to prosper.
How do educators view social and emotional learning? Are they putting in place policies and programs to support well-being and the
development of psychosocial assets such as resilience, autonomy and self-regulation? And what forms do these policies and programs take? This report, informed by an expert advisory panel and a global survey, explores the integration of emotional well-being, social learning and cognition in education systems across the continents.

You can download the report at:

EIU and Microsoft White paper: Emotion and cognition in the age of AI

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