Brock Bass Thesis defense 12/16

Faces as Ambient Displays: Assessing the Attention-Demanding Characteristics of Facial Expressions

Thesis Defense

Dr. Richard Pak (Advisor), Dr. Leo Gugerty, Dr. Christopher Pagano

Ambient displays are used to provide information to users in a non-distracting manner. The purpose of this research was to examine the efficacy of facial expressions as a method of conveying information to users in an unobtrusive way. Facial expression recognition requires very little if any conscious attention from the user, which makes it an excellent candidate for the ambient presentation of information. Specifically, the current study quantified the amount of attention required to decode and recognize various facial expressions. The current study assessed the attention-demanding characteristics of facial expressions using the dual-task experiment paradigm. Results from the experiment suggest that Chernoff facial expressions are decoded with the most accuracy when happy facial expressions are used. There was also an age-effect on decoding accuracy; indicating younger adults had higher facial expression decoding performance compared to older adults. The observed decoding advantages for happy facial expressions and younger adults in the single-task were maintained in the dual-task. The dual-task paradigm revealed that the decoding of Chernoff facial expressions required more attention (i.e., longer response times and more face misses) than hypothesized, and did not evoke attention-free decoding. Chernoff facial expressions do not appear to be good ambient displays due to their attention-demanding nature.

1 pm, Monday December 16th, 419 Brackett

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