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A cognitive theory for affective user modelling in a virtual reality educational game George Katsionis, Maria Virvou Department of Informatics University.

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Presentation on theme: "A cognitive theory for affective user modelling in a virtual reality educational game George Katsionis, Maria Virvou Department of Informatics University."— Presentation transcript:

1 A cognitive theory for affective user modelling in a virtual reality educational game George Katsionis, Maria Virvou Department of Informatics University of Piraeus Piraeus 18534, Greece;

2 Educational Software  Due to the potential benefits of computer assisted learning there is a growing interest for educational software from numerous institutions.  Educational applications have to incorporate as many reasoning abilities as possible to be educationally beneficial.

3 The role of affect in learning  One aspect of students that plays an important role in students’ learning and has been overlooked so far is affect.  Picard (2002) points out that affect has been overlooked by the HCI community in general.  However, how people feel may play an important role on their cognitive processes as well.

4 Virtual Reality Game  The popularity of software games among children and adolescents may be exploited for educational purposes. Virtual reality games constitute a very promising mean of developing more attractive educational applications.  Such gaming applications, which typically provoke a wealth of emotions to users, can become an advanced test bed for affective states.  The test bed for our research is an ITS for teaching English orthography and grammatical rules. This ITS operates as a virtual reality game, and is called VIRGE (Virtual Reality Game for English).

5 Virtual Reality Game  Students have the opportunity to play a 3D game, similar to the commercial ones, which enables them to learn while playing. The student must fight his/her way through a maze by using his/her domain knowledge.  It is an educational application that models aspects of student behaviour, by combining evidence from students’ errors and detectable behavioural characteristics.  Recognises evidence about important students’ emotions and provides appropriate feedback.

6 Animated agents  When users interact with a computer, they provide a great deal of information about themselves.  Agents have been quite successful at observing users’ behavior and they have been used in learning environments in order to capture the users’ characteristics and perform user-modeling tasks.  VIRGE communicates with the student via three types of animated agent, the virtual enemy, the virtual advisor and the virtual companion.

7 The VR-Environment of the Game


9 Animated agents  The animated agent who acts as an advisor, has the form of a female angel, and appears in situations where the student has to read new parts of the theory or has to repeat parts that s/he appears not to know well.  The virtual enemy agent is a dragon guard outside every door of the game, and opposes himself as an obstacle on the student’s course during the game, by asking questions.  The virtual companion appears, and makes some remarks in a casual way as if a friend was talking to the student. He is responsible for showing empathy to the students and help them in managing their emotions while playing.

10 Collecting Evidence  For the purposes of finding out which aspects of the students’ emotional state in relation to their performance in the educational game could be modelled, we conducted an empirical study.  Computer logging was used to record students’ actions while they interacted with the application.  Through computer logging the system may continuously collect objective data for further analysis without interfering with users during their interactions with the system.

11 Distinguishing characteristics  Five human experts were asked to observe students’ actions while they played the game and to note down what the students were likely to have felt.  The experts distinguished between different characters of students and assessed their emotions in relation to the students’ characters.

12 Using the results of the empirical study  The educational game uses as evidence on students’ characters and emotions several actions that relate to typing and mouse movements.  Time has played a very important role in our measurements. There are many inferences that can be drawn for the students’ feelings and reactions depending on the time they spend before and after making some actions.

13 Inferences based on observations of time  The degree of speed or haste of the student is measured by the time that it takes to the student to answer a question.  The time the computer is left idle after a response to the student is used to measure the degree of surprise that the response may have caused to the student.

14 Inferences based on user actions  The degree of certainty of the student concerning a particular answer: the more times the student presses “backspace” and “delete” the less certain s/he is about the answer.  The degree of concentration or frustration of the student: the more mouse movements without any obvious intent, the less concentrated or the more frustrated or intimidated the student is. The exact interpretation depends on the context.

15 Significance of an characteristic  All kinds of evidence are meant to be used by the system to adapt its interaction with the user.  The intensity of an emotional characteristic, either positive or negative, is very important for the selection of the appropriate advice for the user.  The combination of such characteristics can provide information about the general mood of the student and lead to affective computing.

16 OCC Theory of emotions  The OCC theory of emotions suggests that for the purpose of finding out if an emotion really occurred to an individual there is a need for the specification of a specific value that is called the threshold value.  If the potential value of an emotion is lower than the threshold value then the individual is not considered to experience the emotion. Otherwise the intensity of the emotion experienced is the difference between the potential value of the emotion and the threshold value.

17 Using OCC Theory  We have used the OCC theory to find out which of the characteristics of each student, have a value that is significant enough to play a role to his or her emotional state.  The threshold value of each behavioural characteristic is calculated, by taking into account the mean value and the standard deviation value of each behavioural characteristic for each individual student.  This decision was based on the fact that it is important to know if a characteristic is out of its usual bounds for the particular student.

18 Example of intensity of characteristic  For example if the value of the behavioural characteristic of haste in a particular answer is greater than its threshold value then its intensity is:  Intensity(Haste) := Value – Threshold_Value(Haste).

19 An Example of advice  If a student is hasty, which is a result of its haste characteristic intensity, and makes a lot of errors receives the following advice from the companion agent:  “ You seem to be quite anxious about answering. There is no need to feel that way. Take your time to think before giving an answer “.

20 Conclusions  We have described how evidence from the students’ actions using the keyboard and the mouse may be combined with the OCC theory of emotions, for drawing inferences for the student’s emotional state while interacting with the educational application.  It is very important for a intelligent tutoring system to be flexible, depending not only on the learning model of a student but also on the affective model.  Affective computing needs a lot of work and evaluations as to be able to provide safe conclusions.

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