Who, Me? How Virtual Agents Can Shape Conversational Footing in Virtual Reality

  • Tomislav PejsaEmail author
  • Michael Gleicher
  • Bilge Mutlu
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10498)


The nonverbal behaviors of conversational partners reflect their conversational footing, signaling who in the group are the speakers, addressees, bystanders, and overhearers. Many applications of virtual reality (VR) will involve multiparty conversations with virtual agents and avatars of others where appropriate signaling of footing will be critical. In this paper, we introduce computational models of gaze and spatial orientation that a virtual agent can use to signal specific footing configurations. An evaluation of these models through a user study found that participants conformed to conversational roles signaled by the agent and contributed to the conversation more as addressees than as bystanders. We observed these effects in immersive VR, but not on a 2D display, suggesting an increased sensitivity to virtual agents’ footing cues in VR-based interfaces.


Embodied conversational agents Virtual reality Gaze Orientation 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin–MadisonMadisonUSA

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