The Effects of Body Gestures and Gender on Viewer’s Perception of Pedagogical Agents’ Emotions

2019-12-06T03:54:04Z (GMT) by Justin Cheng
The goal of this research is to develop Animated Pedagogical Agents (APA) that can convey clearly perceivable emotions through speech, facial expressions and body gestures. In particular, the two studies reported in the thesis investigated the extent to which modifications to the range of movement of 3 beat gestures, e.g., both arms synchronous outward gesture, both arms synchronous forward gesture, and upper body lean, and the agent ‘s gender have significant effects on viewer’s perception of the agent’s emotion in terms of valence and arousal. For each gesture the range of movement was varied at 2 discrete levels. The stimuli of the studies were 8 12-seconds animation clips generated using a fractional factorial design; in each clip an animated agent who speaks and gestures, gives a lecture segment on binomial probability. 4 clips featured a female agent and 4 clips featured a male agent. In the first study, which used a within-subject design and metric conjoint analysis, 120 subjects were asked to watch the 8 stimuli clips and rank them according to perceived valence and arousal (from highest to lowest). In the second study, which used a between-subject design, 300 participants were assigned to two groups of 150 subjects each. One group watched the 4 clips featuring the male agent and one group watched the 4 clips featuring the female agent. Each participant was asked to rate perceived valence and arousal for each clip using a 7-point Likert scale. Results indicated that extending the arms outwards and forwards as well as modifying the agent’s gender from male to female increased perceived valence and arousal, whereas rotating the body backwards increased only perceived valence.