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Affect and Social Processes in Online Communication--Experiments with an Affective Dialog System

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4 Author(s)
Marcin Skowron ; Austrian Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI), Vienna ; Mathias Theunis ; Stefan Rank ; Arvid Kappas

This paper presents an integrated view on a series of experiments conducted with an affective dialog system, applied as a tool in studies of emotions and social processes in online communication. The different realizations of the system are evaluated in three experimental setups to verify effects of affective profiles, as well as of fine-grained communication scenarios on users' expressions of affective states, experienced emotional changes, and interaction patterns. Results demonstrate that the system applied in virtual reality settings matches a Wizard-of-Oz in terms of chatting enjoyment, dialog coherence, and realism. Variants of the system's affective profile significantly influence the rating of chatting enjoyment and an emotional connection. Self-reported emotional changes experienced by participants during an interaction with the system are in line with the type of applied profile. Analysis of interaction patterns, i.e., usage of particular dialog act classes, word categories, and textual expressions of affective states for different scenarios, demonstrates that a communication scenario for social sharing of emotions was successfully established. The experimental evidence provides valuable input for applications of affective dialog systems and strengthens them as valid tools for studying affect and social aspects in online communication.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 3 )