Sin-hwa Kang Presents at the 10th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents

September 20, 2010 | Philadelphia, PA

Speaker: Sin-hwa Kang, ICT
Host: The International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents

In typical communication situations, it is desirable to avoid any type of simultaneous talking due to lack of coordination between communicators, as it is not easy to maintain sufficient mutual clarity over conversation at the same time. Researchers have long commented on the lack of coordination in the turn-taking of conversation partners. Leighton et al. specifically pointed out more interrupting and simultaneous talking occurred in communication of people who needed psychotherapy. In our previous study we mainly investigated people’s self-disclosure in the interview interaction with real human videos and virtual agents. Bavelas et al. demonstrated that collaboration between a speaker’s acts and listeners’ responses were coordinated by speaker gaze. Therefore, we speculated that it would be crucial to study the timely exchange of speaking turns coordinated by interviewee gaze in the self-disclosure interview interaction, where participants were human interviewees and the interview-ers were either virtual agents or humans represented by a modified or unmodified video avatar. We would like to elucidate our starting assumption based on one of the floor-yielding cues defined in the study by Duncan, Jr.: head direction. In his study, Duncan defines the signals and rules for the turn-taking mechanism. The head direction is described as “turning of the speaker’s head toward the auditor” which is considered “the speaker’s part of the gaze-direction pattern.” Exline et al. describe the head direction, specifically looking at or away from another, as a natural gesture in which communicators normally perceive the other’s intentions based on the fixations or avoidances of gaze. They further report that communicators could have high degree of certainty if they experience the other’s full gaze in the face by citing Gibson and Pick’s work in 1963.

We discovered that interviewees’ gaze at interviewers at the end of their speaking turn provided more appropriate gaze times when they interacted with agent interviewers than with human interviewers shown as modified video avatars. In this paper we discuss our findings and other take-home messages found in different turn-taking patterns in the interactions with agent interviewers and human interviewers.