Infoscience

Conference paper

Towards building an attentive artificial listener: on the perception of attentiveness in audio-visual feedback tokens

Current dialogue systems typically lack a variation of audio-visual feedback tokens. Either they do not encompass feedback tokens at all, or only support a limited set of stereotypical functions. However, this does not mirror the subtleties of spontaneous conversations. If we want to be able to build an artificial listener, as a first step towards building an empathetic artificial agent, we also need to be able to synthesize more subtle audio-visual feedback tokens. In this study, we devised an array of monomodal and multimodal binary comparison perception tests and experiments to understand how different realisations of verbal and visual feedback tokens influence third-party perception of the degree of attentiveness. This allowed us to investigate i) which features (amplitude, frequency, duration...) of the visual feedback influences attentiveness perception; ii) whether visual or verbal backchannels are perceived to be more attentive iii) whether the fusion of unimodal tokens with low perceived attentiveness increases the degree of perceived attentiveness compared to unimodal tokens with high perceived attentiveness taken alone; iv) the automatic ranking of audio-visual feedback token in terms of conveyed degree of attentiveness.

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