Achieving Empathic Engagement Through Affective Interaction with Synthetic Characters

  • Lynne Hall
  • Sarah Woods
  • Ruth Aylett
  • Lynne Newall
  • Ana Paiva
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3784)


This paper considers affective interactions to achieve empathic engagement with synthetic characters in virtual learning environments, in order to support and induce the expression of empathy in children. The paper presents FearNot!, a school based virtual learning environment, populated by synthetic characters used for personal, social and health education, specifically bullying issues in schools. An empirical study of 345 children aged 8-11 years who interacted with FearNot! is outlined. The results identify that affective interactions resulting in the expression of empathy were increased when children had high levels of belief and interest in character conversations and if they believed that their interactions had an impact on the characters’ behaviour.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynne Hall
    • 1
  • Sarah Woods
    • 2
  • Ruth Aylett
    • 3
  • Lynne Newall
    • 4
  • Ana Paiva
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Computing and TechnologyUniversity of SunderlandSunderlandUK
  2. 2.Adaptive Systems Research GroupUniversity of HertfordshireHatfield, HertsUK
  3. 3.Mathematics and Computer ScienceHeriot-Watt UniversityEdinburgh
  4. 4.Scbool of InformaticsNorthumbria UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  5. 5.INESC-ID and IST, Instituto Superior TécnicoPorto SalvoPortugal

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