Human-Computer Interaction, Natural Interfaces, Embodied Conversational Agents, Relational Agents, Social Behavior Modeling, Avatars and Agents for Educational Videogames, User-Centered Design

Inspiration and Main Contributions

In daily interactions with other people we effectively exchange information and communicate a great deal of attitudes, emotions and inner thoughts with our verbal and nonverbal behavior (e.g. eye movements, facial expressions, postures and gestures).

Can we naturally interact with a machine in the same way we do with other people?

My research is inspired by this question. In particular, I adopt a user-centered design where I combine theories and findings about social interaction drawn from human social psychology with artificial intelligence techniques to design, create and empirically evaluate autonomous animated virtual agents that interact with their users in real time.

The main contributions are in the fields of affective computing, human-computer interaction and user-centered approaches for designing and evaluating interactive systems. More specifically I work on:

  1. Nonverbal expression of social attitudes for virtual agents in dyadic and group interactions.
  2. Nonverbal first impressions management in user-agent interactions.
  3. Adaptive agent’s reactions to unexpected situations (e.g. conversational interruptions).
  4. Human-centered laboratory and field studies.

Applications of this research include: educational and training systems, social support (e.g. eldercare) and entertainment (e.g. video games and museum installations).