New Findings on Facial Affect

Diane Schiano.

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University May 12, 2000

Facial expression of emotion (or "facial affect") is rapidly becoming an area of intense interest in the computer science and interaction design communities. Ironically, this interest comes at a time when the classic findings on perception of human facial affect are being challenged in the psychological research literature, largely on methodological grounds. This talk will present some new data on the recognition of human facial expressions, using experimental methods and analyses designed to systematically address the criticisms and help resolve this controversy.

Further research applying this data is then described, most notably a user study on perception of affect in a prototype robot face. We see this work as a demonstration of how basic and more applied research can prove mutually informative in this emerging field.

Diane Schiano is an independent consultant on user experience and online community. She received her doctorate in experimental psychology (perception) from Princeton, and did a post-doc (in spatial cognition) at Stanford. She was an NRC Research Fellow in aerospace human factors at NASA/Ames Research Center, studying helicopter pilot navigation strategies.

She worked in interface design at Sun Microsystems before joining Interval Research Corporation in early 1993. She remained at Interval until recently, leading a research project which performed psychological research to inform interface design. She has published in a wide variety of areas, including: Visual-spatial orientation & navigation, information visualization, browsing & search, facial affect & affective interfaces, and online communication & community.


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