Analyzing Interpersonal Empathy via Collective Impressions

Shiro Kumano, Kazuhiro Otsuka, Dan Mikami, Masafumi Matsuda, and Junji Yamato
(NTT Communication Science Laboratories)

Download movie: wmv mov


This paper presents a research framework for understanding the empathy that arises between people while they are conversing. By focusing on the process by which empathy is perceived by other people, this paper aims to develop a computational model that automatically infers perceived empathy from participant behavior. To describe such perceived empathy objectively, we introduce the idea of using the collective impressions of external observers. In particular, we focus on the fact that the perception of otherfs empathy varies from person to person, and take the standpoint that this individual difference itself is an essential attribute of human communication for building, for example, successful human relationships and consensus. This paper describes a probabilistic model of the process that we built based on the Bayesian network, and that relates the empathy perceived by observers to how the gaze and facial expressions of participants co-occur between a pair. In this model, the probability distribution represents the diversity of observersf impression, which reflects the individual differences in the schema when perceiving othersf empathy from their behaviors, and the ambiguity of the behaviors. Comprehensive experiments demonstrate that the inferred distributions are similar to those made by observers.


Conferences papers

[4] Shiro Kumano, Kazuhiro Otsuka, Dan Mikami, Masafumi Matsuda, and Junji Yamato, "Analyzing Interpersonal Empathy via Collective Impressions," IEEE Trans. Affective Computing, Vol. 6, Issue 4, pp. 324-336, 2015. [pdf]

[3] S. Kumano, K. Otsuka, M. Matsuda, J. Yamato, "Analyzing perceived empathy/antipathy based on reaction time in behavioral coordination," In Proc. International Workshop on Emotion Representation, Analysis and Synthesis in Continuous Time and Space (EmoSPACE), 2013. [pdf]

[2] S. Kumano, K. Otsuka, D. Mikami, M. Matsuda and J. Yamato, "Understanding Communicative Emotions from Collective External Observations," In Proc. CHI '12 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (CHI2012), pp. 2201-2206, 2012. [pdf]

[1] S. Kumano, K. Otsuka, D. Mikami and J. Yamato, "Analyzing Empathetic Interactions based on the Probabilistic Modeling of the Co-occurrence Patterns of Facial Expressions in Group Meetings", In Proc. IEEE International Conference on Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition (FG 2011), pp. 43-50, 2011. [pdf]