University of Twente Student Theses


What Face Would You Like To Have? : The Effects of an Avatar's Facial Features on Social Presence

Gulhane, Devesh (2022) What Face Would You Like To Have? : The Effects of an Avatar's Facial Features on Social Presence.

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Abstract:Remote collaboration, wherein people can interact remotely via a robotic representation, is becoming increasingly prominent and yet, despite the development of commercial telepresence systems and robots for remote collaborative interactions, there has been little evaluation or discussion about the facial appearance of the collaborator's avatars, especially real-time facial tracked avatars. This research investigates the effects of avatar facial features on social presence and users' perception in a physical space telepresence system. We conduct a user study comparing the effects of avatar face appearance with two levels of anthropomorphism (low: abstract; high: stylised human), which includes two levels of expressiveness (low: only eye blinks + mouth up-down movements; high: realistic facial expressions) on Social Presence while performing a collaboration task. Twenty-nine participants are included. We find that females perceive more Copresence, Emotional Contagion and Aggregated Social Presence with high level of expressive avatars than low level of expressive avatars, indicating that females could be more receptive to higher expressiveness than males. Males perceive more Copresence with high-anthropomorphic avatars than females due to the lowest scores for high-anthropomorphic-low-expressive avatars by females. Females' lowest scores for high-anthropomorphic-low-expressive avatars might be because females are more sensitive and critical to the unexpectedness of avatars' behaviour according to their visual representation. The difference between low and high expressiveness is significant for high anthropomorphic avatars, implying Copresence is the lowest when a large mismatch exists between an avatar's appearance (anthropomorphism) and behavioural realism (expressions). However, the results show no significant difference within Anthropomorphism, Expression Modality and Sex individually and overall three-way interaction (Anthropomorphism*Expression Modality*Sex). We discuss these results and suggest guidelines for designing future avatar-mediated remote collaboration systems.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:05 communication studies, 50 technical science in general, 54 computer science, 70 social sciences in general
Programme:Interaction Technology MSc (60030)
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