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Article

Individual’s Social Perception of Virtual Avatars Embodied with Their Habitual Facial Expressions and Facial Appearance

1
School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA 31401, USA
2
Department of Emotion Engineering, Sangmyung University, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03016, Korea
3
Department of Human Centered Artificial Intelligence, Sangmyung University, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03016, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Stefanos Kollias
Sensors 2021, 21(17), 5986; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21175986
Received: 20 August 2021 / Revised: 3 September 2021 / Accepted: 4 September 2021 / Published: 6 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emotion Intelligence Based on Smart Sensing)
With the prevalence of virtual avatars and the recent emergence of metaverse technology, there has been an increase in users who express their identity through an avatar. The research community focused on improving the realistic expressions and non-verbal communication channels of virtual characters to create a more customized experience. However, there is a lack in the understanding of how avatars can embody a user’s signature expressions (i.e., user’s habitual facial expressions and facial appearance) that would provide an individualized experience. Our study focused on identifying elements that may affect the user’s social perception (similarity, familiarity, attraction, liking, and involvement) of customized virtual avatars engineered considering the user’s facial characteristics. We evaluated the participant’s subjective appraisal of avatars that embodied the participant’s habitual facial expressions or facial appearance. Results indicated that participants felt that the avatar that embodied their habitual expressions was more similar to them than the avatar that did not. Furthermore, participants felt that the avatar that embodied their appearance was more familiar than the avatar that did not. Designers should be mindful about how people perceive individuated virtual avatars in order to accurately represent the user’s identity and help users relate to their avatar. View Full-Text
Keywords: virtual avatar; virtual human; virtual character; embodied conversational agent; social interaction; empathy virtual avatar; virtual human; virtual character; embodied conversational agent; social interaction; empathy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Park, S.; Kim, S.P.; Whang, M. Individual’s Social Perception of Virtual Avatars Embodied with Their Habitual Facial Expressions and Facial Appearance. Sensors 2021, 21, 5986. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21175986

AMA Style

Park S, Kim SP, Whang M. Individual’s Social Perception of Virtual Avatars Embodied with Their Habitual Facial Expressions and Facial Appearance. Sensors. 2021; 21(17):5986. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21175986

Chicago/Turabian Style

Park, Sung, Si P. Kim, and Mincheol Whang. 2021. "Individual’s Social Perception of Virtual Avatars Embodied with Their Habitual Facial Expressions and Facial Appearance" Sensors 21, no. 17: 5986. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21175986

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