Don’t Scratch! Self-adaptors Reflect Emotional Stability

  • Michael Neff
  • Nicholas Toothman
  • Robeson Bowmani
  • Jean E. Fox Tree
  • Marilyn A. Walker
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6895)


A key goal in agent research is to be able to generate multimodal characters that can reflect a particular personality. The Big Five model of personality provides a framework for codifying personality variation. This paper reviews findings in the psychology literature to understand how the Big Five trait of emotional stability correlates with changes in verbal and nonverbal behavior. Agent behavior was modified based on these findings and a perceptual study was completed to determine if these changes lead to the controllable perception of emotional stability in virtual agents. The results reveal how language variation and the use of self-adaptors can be used to increase or decrease the perceived emotional stability of an agent. Self-adaptors are movements that often involve self-touch, such as scratching or bending one’s fingers backwards in an unnatural brace. These results provide guidance on how agent designers can create particular characters, including indicating that for particular personality types, it is important to also produce typically non-communicative gestural behavior, such as the self-adaptors studied.


Personality gesture conversational and nonverbal behavior evaluation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Neff
    • 1
  • Nicholas Toothman
    • 1
  • Robeson Bowmani
    • 2
  • Jean E. Fox Tree
    • 2
  • Marilyn A. Walker
    • 2
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

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