Interpersonal closeness, or, rapport is an important element of human interaction, particularly in educational contexts, but current educational technologies are often unable to detect or respond to students in ways that draw on research on interpersonal social bonding in learning. In the "Rapport-Aligned Peer Tutor" (or, RAPT) project, we study rapport-building behaviors in peer tutoring in order to design a virtual peer tutor that can build rapport with students.

In this component of the project, we draw on methods from discourse analysis, computational linguistics, and learning science to understand the nature and patterns of use of various types of tutoring, learning, and social behaviors that contribute to interpersonal rapport and learning.

We published a paper in the 2016 Intelligent Tutoring System conference describing early findings from this work, on the different tutoring and learning styles between friends and strangers, and their impact on learning.

We also published a paper in the 2017 Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning conference describing the impact that interpersonal rapport has on peer tutors' use of indirectness (or, hedging) in their feedback and instructions to their tutees.