Investigating the influence of avatar facial characteristics on the social behaviors of children with autism

Elizabeth J. Carter, Jennifer Hyde, Diane L. Williams, Jessica K. Hodgins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by unusual social communication and interaction. These traits are often targets for intervention, particularly computer-based interventions (CBIs). We examined whether interactive behaviors in children with autism could be influenced by modifying the facial characteristics of computer avatars and how behavior toward avatars compared to that toward video. Participants spoke with a therapist over a modified videoconferencing system that permitted manipulation of her appearance (i.e., using cartoon or more realistic avatars versus video) and motion (i.e., exaggerating or damping facial movements). We measured the participants' speech, gaze, and gestures. In the first study, we found that the appearance complexity of the avatar did not significantly affect any social interaction behaviors. However, the results of the second study suggest that exaggerated facial motion can improve nonverbal social behaviors, such as gaze and gesture. These findings have implications for character design in CBIs for ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2016 - Proceedings, 34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages140-151
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450333627
DOIs
StatePublished - May 7 2016
Event34th Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016 - San Jose, United States
Duration: May 7 2016May 12 2016

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Other

Other34th Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016
CountryUnited States
CitySan Jose
Period5/7/165/12/16

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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    Carter, E. J., Hyde, J., Williams, D. L., & Hodgins, J. K. (2016). Investigating the influence of avatar facial characteristics on the social behaviors of children with autism. In CHI 2016 - Proceedings, 34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 140-151). (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/2858036.2858345