Ning Wang, Jonathan Gratch: “Rapport and Facial Expression”

September 10, 2009 | Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Speaker: Ning Wang, Jonathan Gratch
Host: International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII)

How to build virtual agents that establish rapport with human? According to Tickle-Degnen and Rosenthal [4], the three essential components of rapport are mutual attentiveness, positivity and coordination. In our previous work, we designed an embodied virtual agent to establish rapport with a human speaker by providing rapid and contingent nonverbal feedback [13] [22]. How do we know that a human speaker is feeling a sense of rapport? In this paper, we focus on the positivity component of rapport by investigating the relationship of human speakers’ facial expressions on the establishment of rapport. We used an automatic facial expression coding tool called CERT to analyze the human dyad interactions and human-virtual human interactions. Results show that recognizing positive facial displays alone may be insufficient and that recognized negative facial displays was more diagnostic in assessing the level of rapport between participants.