Virtual Agents are more or less human-looking characters who can converse with real people by using speech, facial expressions and gestures. Full realism is not the major criterion to judge VHs – what more important is the suspension of disbelieve and engagement. Thus cartoon faces, with artistic and beyond-realism features, may serve better than photorealistic 3d models. I will talk about a series of research projects, aiming at investigating how people (of different cultures) react to different virtual faces.
1. Web-based poker game
How people react to a poker player with a face and without?
How do people find to play poker with a dog?
2. Cross-cultural analysis of interpretations of avatar facial expressions
However, do people interpret avatar faces and facial expressions equally across cultures and countries? Do Western people recognize facial expressions drawn with Japanese anime/comic style, and vice versa?
3. Cross-cultural analysis of facial regions used as cues to recognize avatar facial expressions Recent psychological research show evidences that Western people focus on the mouth, and Japanese on the eyes in recognizing facial expressions. We are investigating whether the above finding is true with cartoon faces. Do Hungarians weigh facial cues in the mouth region more heavily than Japanese?
This is an ongoing joint research with Zsófia Ruttkay at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design.
Tomoko Koda, PhD, is an associate professor at Osaka Institute of Technology in Japan. She has extensive experiences in human-computer interaction (HCI) and human-agent interaction (HAI) both in research/industry.
engineer. She pursued her research interest as a master's student at MIT Media Laboratory in 1996. Her MS thesis was cited more than 200 papers as a pioneering work in HAI. She worked at Star Lab, a start-up research lab in Brussels, then she returned back to Japan to start a business using intelligent agents in 1997. She has launched several internet businesses some of which are still in the market. She returned to academia in 2001.
Her work/research activities and publications are available at: