Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

Affective Computing: Medical Applications

Raoul N. Smith
College of Computer Science
Northeastern University Boston, MA 02115 USA

William J. Frawley
Department of Linguistics
University of Delaware Newark, DE 19711 USA


Introduction

Marketers have long known that a buyer's reaction to an interface is a major factor in consumer purchase and loyalty. And this reaction can be largely affective. So the interface is not just a value-added characteristic of a piece of software; it has tended to be the critical component.

The uses or even control of emotions in the design of and subsequent reactions to interfaces, and, for that matter, other computer systems or system components, is still not completely clear1. What emotions are appropriate in HCI? And how do emotions fit into the actual construction of practical computing systems, in addition to human-computer interfaces?

We do not think that the field should take the path of early work on natural language interfaces that tried to account for all of English grammar in one system. In particular, in this emerging research area, we should be conducting studies of actual users and see what subset of all possible emotions actually come into play in human interactions with computers. When is the knowledge of emotions appropriate to HCI and other such questions need to be answered before embarking on actual large-scale system building.

Obvious uses of emotions in computer systems include the following applications:

____________________
1
Rich 1996 uses anthropomorphism as a guiding principle in his development of software interface agents. Emotions, as an indication of anthropomorphism par excellence, play a role in such agents but what, in detail, should that role be?

-843-

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