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Bodily Expressions: Computational Approaches for Understanding Nonverbal Communication of Personality and Embodied Communication in VR

Time: Mon 2021-05-10 18.15

Location: Zoom

Lecturer: Prof. Michael Neff

Abstract:
In the first portion of the talk, I will examine how nonverbal
communication, and in particular gesture, conveys personality to
observers. Our work is framed using the Five Factor or OCEAN model of
personality from social psychology. Drawing both from the psychology
literature and primary perceptual research with animated agents, I'll
show how movement changes impact perceived character personality. I'll
look at particular movement factors that influence personality traits
and also show that in many cases, people may be making two distinct
personality judgments, rather than five in correspondence to the five
factor personality model. The second part of the talk will focus on how
people use embodied avatars to aid communication in virtual reality.
I'll discuss a study comparing interaction in VR with embodied avatars,
without avatars, and with face-to-face interaction.


Bio:
Michael Neff is a Professor in Computer Science and Cinema & Digital
Media at the University of California, Davis where he leads the Motion
Lab, an interdisciplinary research effort in character animation and
embodied interaction. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto
and is also a Certified Laban Movement Analyst. His research focus has
been on character animation, especially modeling expressive movement,
nonverbal communication, gesture and applying performing arts knowledge
to animation. Additional interests include human computer interaction
related to embodiment, motion perception, character based applications,
motor control and VR/XR. Select distinctions include an NSF CAREER
Award, the Alain Fournier Award and several paper awards. He is the
former Chair of the Department of Cinema and Digital Media at UC Davis.