Affective Computing and Interaction: Psychological, Cognitive and Neuroscientific Perspectives

Affective Computing and Interaction: Psychological, Cognitive and Neuroscientific Perspectives

Didem Gökçay (Middle Eastern Technical University, Turkey) and Gülsen Yildirim (Middle Eastern Technical University, Turkey)
Indexed In: PsycINFO®, SCOPUS
Release Date: October, 2010|Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 458
ISBN13: 9781616928926|ISBN10: 1616928921|EISBN13: 9781616928940|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-892-6


Since interactions may occur between animals, humans, or computational agents, an interdisciplinary approach which investigates foundations of affective communication in a variety of platforms is indispensable. In the field of affective computing, a collection of research, merging decades of research on emotions in psychology, cognition and neuroscience will inspire creative future research projects and contribute to the prosperity of this emerging field.

Affective Computing and Interaction: Psychological, Cognitive and Neuroscientific Perspectives examines the current state and the future prospects of affect in computing within the context of interactions. Uniting several aspects of affective interactions and topics in affective computing, this reference reviews basic foundations of emotions, furthers an understanding of the contribution of affect to our lives and concludes by revealing current trends and promising technologies for reducing the emotional gap between humans and machines, all within the context of interactions.

Topics Covered

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Affect and Cognition
  • Affect in Computer Mediated Interactions
  • Affective Agents
  • Affective Component in Human Interactions
  • Applications of Affective Computing
  • Biological Roots of Affect
  • Processing of Affect in Communication, Body Language, Facial Expressions and Speech
  • Processing of Context in Affective Interactions
  • Representation of Affect and Computational Models

Reviews and Testimonials

Evolutionary theory hypothesises that specific expressive behaviours were selected over the course of human evolution because they had adaptive value in social relationships. This hypothesis suggest that the evolution and future of affective computing is, indeed, an ongoing wondrous journey where machines (computers) meet humans, and where key issues and themes of affective communication, such as context, emotion colouring, multimodality, back-channelling, intensity, duration, continuity, and sustainability, evolve over the course of time, and over the course of that encounter. The authors and readers of this book thus become a part of this wondrous journey.

– Hatice Gunes, Imperial College London, UK and University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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For many years, researchers in computer science have focused on rational thinking and discarded the effect of emotions in machine learning, artificial intelligence and decision making. Building agents with rational decision making – independent of emotions – has been regarded as the only meaningful attempt for the creation of human-like agents. 

This fact is also valid for cognitive science. In cognitive science, emotions have been considered as exclusive processes for the survival instincts of animals. After the evolution of mankind from hominoids, the limbic system, which sustained all the emotional processing has been thought to be downplayed by a superior system centered in the prefrontal cortex, which sustained all the high-level cognitive functioning such as decision making, monitoring, attention, conflict resolution, working memory. However, what we face today is that emotions play a very important role not only in survival but also in many high order cognitive processes. What is recently being revealed through astonishing research especially in cognitive neuroscience, particularly in tasks involving subliminal processing is that emotions have unforeseen impact in cognitive processing.   

In the light of such recent findings, emotional experience of the end-users is becoming an important issue especially in human-computer interaction.  In particular, creating, triggering, sustaining and detecting emotions at the end-user as well as the capability to imitate emotions seem to be hot topics of the near future. Designing interfaces considering affective tools as well as esthetics; handling game designs in such a way that the user engagement is managed via emotional experiences; greeting/rehabilitating users with affective agents; creating agents with beliefs, desires and intentions are the most promising examples of this new trendy approach. 

In this book, we humbly wanted to put together (so-called distinct) types of field knowledge to facilitate development of affective computing specifically focusing on user interactions. We gathered general knowledge in cognitive science, neuroscience and psychology along with active research in affective computing, hoping that the readers may enhance their understanding and vision regarding the current state of the art  as well as future demands and opportunities. 

In the current literature, although affective interaction most often refers to the involvement of affect in the interaction between a user and a system, it can be generalized to any interaction between entities. In broad terms, affective interaction may take place between any type of parties that interact. When put in such broad terms, the carrier of information in the interaction may become a human, an animal or a computer. Therefore it becomes impossible to understand the underpinnings involved in affective computing without understanding how affective interaction works in humans and how this process could be applied for building automatic systems that interact with affect:  there is a lot to be learned from human nature.  

The layout of the chapters flow from learning basic foundations of emotions to understanding the contribution of affect in our lives and finally end by revealing the current trends and the promising technologies for defeating the emotional gap between humans and machines, all within the context of interactions.

The book is divided into 5 sections. The first section presents the foundations of affect in cognition according to the cognitive science, psychology and neuroscience perspectives. Although there are a lot of books and collections on each of the topics given in this section, we tried to gather review chapters to introduce the crucial background for building human-like systems. In the following section, remarkable examples of theoretical models on emotional frameworks are provided, mostly built by using subsets of knowledge provided in section 1.

We configured the final three sections according to different domains within which interactions may occur. The readers can find remarkable reviews on psychology and technology of non-verbal, face-to-face interactions in the section ‘Affect in Non-verbal Communication’. In the following section, ‘Affect in Language-Based Communication’, the impact of affect in verbal communication and text-based machine-mediated human communication are presented. The last section provides fascinating discussions on affective computing in human-computer interaction as well as current trends and promising technologies for designing interactive environments based on affective interactions.  Finally, in the Epilog, a brief philosophical discussion on the possibility and plausibility of creating affective machines is provided. 

In this collection, we tried to bring together several aspects of affective interactions within the field of affective computing in a pleasant scholarly reading format.  We hope this book will reach out to communities associated with computer science, cognitive science or cognitive neuroscience and help in unraveling the basics of the elusive interplay between emotion and cognition in affective interactions.

Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

Didem Gökçay received her BS and MS degrees in the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Middle East Technical University. She finished her PhD in the Department of Computer Science at University of Florida as a Fulbright scholar. She worked as a research assistant in the Cognitive Neuropsychology Laboratory of the University of Florida Brain Institute for 6 years developing tasks with emotional stimuli and programs for the analysis of psychophysiology and fMRI measurements. Her postdoctoral fellowship was mutually funded by the Salk Institute and University of California San Diego, while she worked at the Research Center for the Neuroscience of Autism on morphology and function of neuroanatomical structures. Currently she is an Assistant Professor at the Informatics Institute of Middle East Technical University. She also directs the METUNEURO Laboratory which specializes in MRI and fMRI postprocessing. Her main interest is the interplay between emotion and cognition, and more specifically key anatomical structures such as the anterior cingulate which participate in the underlying emotional processes.
Gülsen Yildirim received her BS degree in the department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Middle East Technical University in 2001. She continued her graduate studies in the field of Robotics at the same department. Her research focused on the development and the control of modular exoskeleton robots as well as pattern recognition, machine learning and intelligent control. In the meanwhile, she worked as a research assistant at the Computer Engineering Department of Atilim University. Since 2004, she has been working as an IT professional specialized in software engineering, software management, project management & coordination. Her main expertise areas are mobile game development, online multiplayer games and enterprise systems. Currently, she is project manager and coordinator of Turkish e-Government Gateway Project and she continues her graduate studies in the Cognitive Science Department of Informatics Institute of Middle East Technical University. Her current research includes affective computing, affective interactions, face recognition in both humans and machines, pattern recognition, and human-computer interaction.