Plenary Speakers

Measuring Affect in the Wild
Dr. Rosalind Picard, MIT

Abstract. Our teams at MIT and at Affectiva have invented mobile sensors and software that can help sense autonomic stress and activity levels comfortably while you are on the go, e.g. the Affectiva Q™ Sensor for capturing sympathetic nervous system activation, or without distracting you while you are online, e.g. webcam-based software capturing heart rate variability and facial expressions. We are also developing new technologies that capture and respond to negative and positive thoughts, combining artificial intelligence and crowd-sourced online human computation to provide just-in-time emotional support through a mobile phone with texting. Our technologies are all opt-in, and are currently being used robustly for “outside the lab, mobile” studies where core emotional processes are involved in autism, PTSD, sleep disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse, epilepsy, stressful workplaces and learning environments, online customer experiences, and more. The new technologies enable collecting orders of magnitude more data than previous lab-based studies, containing many fascinating variations of “what people really do” especially when making expressions such as smiles. This talk will highlight some of the most interesting findings from recent work together with stories of personal adventures in emotion measurement out in the wild.

Bio. Rosalind Picard is founder and director of the Affective Computing Research Group and co-founder and director of the Autism and Communication Technology Initiative at the MIT Media Laboratory. She is also co-founder, chief scientist, and chairman of Affectiva, Inc., a start-up company focused on creating technology to help clinical and market researchers better measure and communicate emotion. After receiving a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech with highest honors, Picard joined AT&T Bell Labs where she collaborated on the design of the DSP16 chip and developed new algorithms and architectures for image compression. Picard earned masters and doctorate degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT and joined the MIT faculty in 1991. At MIT she pioneered research on content-based retrieval of image and video, co-developing the Photobook system and introducing the use of new mathematical models and semantic descriptions such as Wold features. In 1997 she authored the book Affective Computing, laying the foundation for a new field of research giving computers skills of emotional intelligence. Picard leads a team of researchers at MIT focused on creating technology to recognize, interpret, and respond intelligently to emotion in multiple modalities including physiology, face, voice, posture and task behavior. [Read More]

To our Emotions, with Love: How Affective should Affective Computing be?
Dr. Arvid Kappas, Jacobs University. Bremen

Abstract. I will discuss how much emotion might or might not be needed when trying to build emotional or emotion-savvy systems, depending on the type of application that is desired, based on a multi-level approach. At one level of analysis, a clear distinction of encoding and decoding processes is required to know what (real) people actually show in certain situations, or what people might in fact perceive. It is not obvious how much information is actually “read” from faces, as opposed to “read” into faces. In other words, context plays a large role for the interpretation of nonverbal behavior. Some of this context is verbal, but some is situational and social. 

At a different level of analysis, interactive characteristics need to be considered. This refers to issues such as responsiveness, synchrony, or imitation that are often neglected in affective computing applications and in basic psychological research. Artificial systems that only react to observed patterns of verbal/nonverbal behavior might be too slow and create strange delayed effects – anticipation might be a key element here. It is these areas where much interesting work is, should be, and will be happening in the next few years.

Bio. Arvid Kappas is professor of psychology at Jacobs University Bremen. He has been conducting research on emotions for over 25 years. Having obtained his PhD at Dartmouth College, NH, USA, he has lived and worked in Switzerland, Canada, the UK, and in Germany. He was also visiting professor in Austria and in Italy. His research addresses how factors, such as the social context, or certain cognitive processes, influence how components of the emotion system interact, such as what people feel, what expressions they show, and how their body reacts. He is associate editor of the APA journal Emotion and of Biological Psychology and on the editorial board of several journals such as Cognition and Emotion and Journal of Nonverbal Behavior. He has been active in a number of national and international scientific associations and published numerous scientific articles and chapters. In the summer of 2011, "Face to face communication over the Internet", edited with Nicole Krämer, will appear. His current research includes work in the context of two EU funded projects: "CYBEREMOTIONS: Collective emotions in cyberspace" and "eCUTE: Education in Cultural Understanding Technology Enhanced" [Read More]

Affect, Learning, and Delight, James Lester, North Carolina State University
Dr. James Lester, NC State University

Abstract.Because of the growing recognition of the role that affect plays in learning, affective computing has become the subject of increasing attention in research on interactive learning environments. The intelligent tutoring systems community has begun actively exploring computational models of affect, and game-based learning environments present a significant opportunity for investigating student affect in interactive learning. One family of game-based learning environments, narrative-centered learning environments, offer a particularly compelling laboratory for investigating student affect. In narrative-centered environments, learning activities play out in dynamically generated interactive narratives and training scenarios. These afford significant opportunities
for investigating computational models of student emotion. In this talk, we explore the role that affective
computing can play in next-generation interactive learning environments, with a particular focus on affect recognition, affect understanding, and affect synthesis in game-based learning.

Bio. James C. Lester is Professor of Computer Science at North Carolina State University. He received the B.A. (Highest Honors), M.S.C.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin, and the B.A. degree in History from Baylor University. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he has served as Program Chair for the ACM International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (2001), Program Chair for the International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems (2004), Conference Co-Chair for the International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (2008), and on the editorial board of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (1997-2007). His research focuses on intelligent tutoring systems, computational linguistics, and intelligent user interfaces. It has been recognized with several Best Paper awards. His current interests include intelligent game-based learning environments, computational models of narrative, affective computing, creativity-enhancing technologies, and tutorial dialogue. He is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education.
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