Emotions with Friends

I am currently working in the Visualization Studio at the school for Computer Science and Communication (CSC) at the Royal University of Technology (KTH).

One of the things I am working with (which started out as my thesis) is part of a european project which covers prosociality and we aim to answer the question:

“How well can children perceive the emotions of a virtual agent expressed through its body language?”

We will do this by creating a game consisting of several scenarios. This post explains what the idea behind it all was from the beginning. It will get updated once we have new material to show.

So, what is this game about?
The game consists of three different scenarios which will help annotate and validate perceived emotions among virtual characters in video games and animated movies.

Try it out here: prototype

Scenario 1 – The single label picker
In this game you will see a virtual character expressing emotions and you should choose the label that best fits the current emotion.


When a label is chosen the screen alters and all the labels switch from being clickable buttons to being signs which show how many people have selected the same label as you.


You are rewarded for being as close to the label chosen by the majority as possible. The idea of the scenario is to make the emotions validated so that they can be used in the second and third scenario. As you progress there will be more labels which are more like each other so that it is a little bit more of a challenge.
Scenario 2 – The forced choice
In this scenario you will see two virtual characters expressing different emotions, you should click on the one that best corresponds to the question prompted at the top of the screen.


Just like the first scenario the screen will then change to show you which of the choices that had the majority of votes by other players and show you if you were amongst the majority or not.


This will again help validate the expressed emotions one step further to help with the final scenario.

Scenario 3 – The group label picker
In this scenario you will see a scene with a group of characters. They might interact or they might not. The aim is to select which of the characters that express which emotion. At first the scene is frozen but if you label each character with the correct emotion the characters will come alive and the scene will start.

Motivation and possible outcomes
A way of learning emotions
The rate of children diagnosed with ASD or other syndromes that makes social interaction hard for them is rising and since there is not enough time for all of the needed therapeutic sessions each week a game like this could help these children to better understand which emotion is expressed. By making this game with virtual characters we have the possibility to remove anything that is distracting in real life such as the complexity of an individual’s face since we can choose how realistic the agent should be.
Hopefully this game will prove itself useful for kids in the range of 6-11 years old since even if they do not have any hardship interacting socially it might help them to further improve by understanding the responses of the person they are talking to better.
Validation of emotions
To be able to give a good representation of which emotion corresponds to which emotional expression we will have to validate that the emotions are perceived as they are supposed to. That is why scenario 1 and 2 relies heavily on showing how well you have answered in comparison to your peers instead of telling you that you are right or wrong. When the data is validated the third scenario can be used which relies on the data validation from the first two scenarios and since the data is validated we can tell if an answer is “right” (the scene start) or “wrong” (the scene does not start).
Risks to take into consideration
Since the third scenario will show a certain scene or event we will have to think about what kind of action each character does and which emotion the same character expresses. We can for example not show a character skipping rope in a playground while expressing the emotion “anger” since these two contradict each other and will possibly confuse the children.

If you would like to contact me please follow this link: https://robinpalmberg.wordpress.com/about/

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