Our social interactions are a two-way street of emotion and feeling. When we listen to others, we perceive their emotional state through their facial expressions, speech tone, posture, etc. Further, we know from brain imaging studies that we are also mirroring their physiological and emotional systems in the brain circuits for imitation, empathy and compassion. In this way, as humans we have the capacity to be keenly aware of other people’s physiological states. The implications for this arise in the feedback cycle by which our understanding of other people’s states feeds back into how we react to their behavior—and vice versa. This is a feedback cycle that we can mimic by connecting virtual agents with the physiological state of their human conversational partners.
Creating physiologically aware virtual agents offers the opportunity to better connect people with technology. Virtual agents that have access to the viewer’s physiological state will be more engaging and reminiscent of our human-to-human exchanges.
Please email glennfox [@] usc.edu if you have any questions about the workshop.