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Affective interaction with a virtual character through an fNIRS brain-computer interface

Affective interaction with a virtual character through an fNIRS brain-computer interface

Aranyi, Gabor, Pecune, Florian, Charles, Fred, Pelachaud, Catherine and Cavazza, Marc ORCID: 0000-0001-6113-9696 (2016) Affective interaction with a virtual character through an fNIRS brain-computer interface. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 10:70. ISSN 1662-5188 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fncom.2016.00070)

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Abstract

Affective brain-computer interfaces (BCI) harness Neuroscience knowledge to develop affective interaction from first principles. In this article, we explore affective engagement with a virtual agent through Neurofeedback (NF). We report an experiment where subjects engage with a virtual agent by expressing positive attitudes towards her under a NF paradigm. We use for affective input the asymmetric activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DL-PFC), which has been previously found to be related to the high-level affective-motivational dimension of approach/avoidance. The magnitude of left-asymmetric DL-PFC activity, measured using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and treated as a proxy for approach, is mapped onto a control mechanism for the virtual agent’s facial expressions, in which action units (AUs) are activated through a neural network. We carried out an experiment with 18 subjects, which demonstrated that subjects are able to successfully engage with the virtual agent by controlling their mental disposition through NF, and that they perceived the agent’s responses as realistic and consistent with their projected mental disposition. This interaction paradigm is particularly relevant in the case of affective BCI as it facilitates the volitional activation of specific areas normally not under conscious control. Overall, our contribution reconciles a model of affect derived from brain metabolic data with an ecologically valid, yet computationally controllable, virtual affective communication environment.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © 2016 Aranyi, Pecune, Charles, Pelachaud and Cavazza. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution and reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Uncontrolled Keywords: brain-computer interfaces, fNIRS, neurofeedback, affective computing, virtual agents
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities
Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Department of Computing & Information Systems
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2019 15:35
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/19802

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