Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
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Effects of damping head movement and facial expression in dyadic conversation using real–time facial expression tracking and synthesized avatars

Steven M. Boker

Steven M. Boker

Department of Psychology, Gilmer Hall Room 102, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA

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Jeffrey F. Cohn

*Author and address for correspondence: Department of Psychology, 3137 SQ, 210S. Bouquet Street, Pittsburg, PA 15260, USA (

E-mail Address: [email protected]

).

Jeffrey F. Cohn

Department of Psychology, 3137 Sennott Square, 210 S. Bouquet Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA

Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

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Barry-John Theobald

Barry-John Theobald

School of Computing Sciences, University of East Anglia, Earlham Road, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK

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Iain Matthews

Iain Matthews

Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

Disney Research, Pittsburgh, 4615 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

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Timothy R. Brick

Timothy R. Brick

Department of Psychology, Gilmer Hall Room 102, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA

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Jeffrey R. Spies

Jeffrey R. Spies

Department of Psychology, Gilmer Hall Room 102, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA

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Published:https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2009.0152

    When people speak with one another, they tend to adapt their head movements and facial expressions in response to each others' head movements and facial expressions. We present an experiment in which confederates' head movements and facial expressions were motion tracked during videoconference conversations, an avatar face was reconstructed in real time, and naive participants spoke with the avatar face. No naive participant guessed that the computer generated face was not video. Confederates' facial expressions, vocal inflections and head movements were attenuated at 1 min intervals in a fully crossed experimental design. Attenuated head movements led to increased head nods and lateral head turns, and attenuated facial expressions led to increased head nodding in both naive participants and confederates. Together, these results are consistent with a hypothesis that the dynamics of head movements in dyadicconversation include a shared equilibrium. Although both conversational partners were blind to the manipulation, when apparent head movement of one conversant was attenuated, both partners responded by increasing the velocity of their head movements.

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