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See details for additional description. Skip to main content. Handbook of Virtual Humans , Hardcover Be the first to write a review. About this product. Stock photo. Brand new: lowest price The lowest-priced brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging where packaging is applicable. See details. Buy It Now. Add to cart. Handbook of Virtual Humans , Hardcover. Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Product Information Virtual Humans are becoming more and more popular and used in many applications such as the entertainment industry in both film and games and medical applications.

This comprehensive book covers all areas of this growing industry including face and body motion, body modelling, hair simulation, expressive speech simulation and facial communication, interaction with 3D objects, rendering skin and clothes and the standards for Virtual Humans. First Published Pages pages. Export Citation. Get Citation. Burden, D. Based on research on other anxiety disorders, this ability might prove useful for the treatment of social phobia as well [12]. For example, in VRET for fear of flying, a therapist is given the opportunity to make relevant changes of the virtual world in use if appropriate, such as switching on the sign fasten your seatbelts , flying under different weather conditions, or letting the pilot make a specific announcement [13].

In VRET for fear of heights, the therapist can move patients to a higher step of a virtual staircase, or place them closer to the edge of a balcony [14]. With regard to VRET for social phobia, however, little attention has been given to this aspect of the treatment. We argue that manipulating the dialogue between the patient and a virtual character can increase the efficacy of VRET for social phobia. For example, by having the virtual character responding on the behaviour of the patients in the dialogue, the therapist can directly address the fear of being evaluated negatively by others.

Furthermore, the listener can in turn actively influence the emotional state of the speaker, as is fundamental to empathic listening technique [16]. Furthermore, a conversation between a human and virtual characters, which mirrors a role-play between human and human dialogue conversation, can influence the emotional state of the human, as has been demonstrated in prior research with VR systems [19] , [20]. Yet, the emotion manipulation and evaluation of the stressor stimuli until now has always covered the entire conversation and has not been directed at isolated sections within a conversation.

Accordingly, the aim of this study was to investigate whether it is possible to induce anxiety in a virtual environment by manipulating the dialogue feedback responses between a human and virtual characters as this could benefit VRET. For exposure in vivo, therapy manuals [21] often suggest scenarios that include social interaction, i. When it comes to exposure in virtual reality, most studies focus mainly on public speaking scenarios [2] , [11] , [22] — [24].

However, in recent studies, other social scenarios have also been successfully developed, such as a restaurant scenario [25] , interaction inside public transport [10] , clothing store [26] , train and bus station [25] , [26] , a bar scenario [10] , [27] , formal job interview [26] , [28] and a blind date scenario [26].

These VRET systems allow therapists to use a variety of virtual social scenes to expose patients to different social situations thereby following the order set by the fear hierarchy. Some patients however might feel unable to conduct exposure, or opposite, do not experience enough anxiety or discomfort.

In these cases therapist manuals [21] for exposure in vivo advise therapists to show an adequate degree of flexibility and modify the exposure accordingly, e. The aim is to establish an optimal level of anxiety during the anticipation phase of exposure. For example, some manuals [21] have even suggested as a general rule to have an anxiety level of somewhere between 5 and 7 on an point scale from 0 no anxiety to 10 extreme anxiety. However, this level might be very much patient dependent. For exposure in virtual reality, flexibility has been sought in changing the body posture of the members of a virtual audience [29] , eye gaze of the virtual character [26] , [28] , distance between virtual character and the patient [30] , [31] , the facial expression [30] , [32] , attitude [29] , [33] or personality [26] , [34] of the virtual character.

However, less research attention has been devoted to control the verbal element of the interaction, i. Most VRET systems that recreate social situations provide no or only limited verbal responses of the virtual character, while there is clear support that humans respond in a similar manner to a computer that acts as social actor as they would do when interacting with other humans [19] , [32] , [35] , [36]. Some have also studied this phenomenon in the context of dialogues with virtual humans.

This has been done not only to study social anxiety [26] , [29] , [30] , specifically public speaking anxiety, but also schizophrenia [31]. For example, Ku et al. Slater et al.

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They found that people with more social anxiety also experienced more stress compared to people with less social anxiety when engaged in an active conversation with virtual humans. Using semi-scripted conversations and speech recognition, ter Heijden and Brinkman [37] showed that it is possible to create 5 minute elaborate conversations between the patients and virtual humans in virtual reality as part of a question and answer session after a small presentation.

The use of semi-scripted conversations has now also been used to recreate conversations in other social situations such as having a conversation with a stranger at a bus stop, buying a t-shirt, a bra or baby clothes in a shop and dining with a blind date [26].

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Virtual humans have also been used for educational purposes. Interestingly, here the effect of feedback has been studied. For example, receiving positive instead of negative feedback from a digital assistant can speed up the students learning time [38] , [39]. As social situations in virtual reality with relative long dialogue interaction provide multiple opportunities to give patients positive or negative feedback, it would be an ideal phobic stressor for a VRET system.

Another major advantage is that the situation can be changed while the patient is being exposed. Hence, this paper presents two studies that examine the following hypotheses underlying this idea:. Prior to the experiment, written informed consent was obtained from all participants. Furthermore, for publication policy, the individual in this manuscript has also given written informed consent as outlined in the PLOS consent form to publish case details. After the experiment, participants received a chocolate bar and drink tea, coffee or warm chocolate as a token of appreciation for their participation.

In order to study the effect of various VR scenes on anxiety level, a within-subjects experiment was conducted. Figure 1 depicts the experimental setup. All participants were exposed to three different VR scenarios: a neutral virtual world [42] where participants were seated in front of a television showing a documentary about wildlife Figure 2 a , a blind date Figure 2 b , and a job interview session with virtual humans Figure 2 c.


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Sixteen participants 5 females and 11 males were recruited in the first experiment that was approved by the ethics committee of Delft University of Technology. Fourteen participants were recruited from Delft University of Technology and two from Utrecht University. All participants reported to have seen 3D stereoscopic images or movies, yet none of them reported to have been exposed to virtual reality environments before.

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Sense of presence in the virtual reality environment was assessed with the Igroup Presence Questionnaire IPQ developed by Schubert et al. The IPQ is composed of 14 items rated on a seven-point Likert scale.

The scores on the 14 IPQ items are mapped onto three subscales, namely Involvement the awareness devoted to virtual environment , Spatial Presence the relation between the virtual environment and the physical real world , and Experienced Realism the sense of reality attributed to the virtual environment. It was expected that the heart rate would increase if people were feeling anxious in a daunting or frightening situation.

To measure the elicited fear responses in this experiment, heart rate of the participants was monitored continuously. The participant inserted a finger into an adult articulated finger sensor.


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At the start of the experiment participants received a short introduction about the overall aim of the study and filled in a basic questionnaire about their age, education and signed a consent form. Participants were not informed about the different VR scenario conditions. The main part of the experiment consisted of three different VR scenarios, one passive interaction with neutral VR world and two active free speech interactions with virtual humans Figure 2 b and c. To control for possible learning effect, the order of the two active interaction scenarios conditions was counter balanced. A baseline measurement was obtained by exposing participants to the neutral VR world.

This also allowed them to become familiar with the VR exposure. This session lasted for two minutes and at the end of the session participants were asked to rate their SUD score.

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Controlling Social Stress in Virtual Reality Environments

In the other conditions, participants had two sessions five minutes each active free speech interaction with a virtual human in VR. Job interview and blind date scenes were selected as relevant social scenes to elicit social anxiety since both social scenes are often suggested for in-session exposures in the cognitive-behavioural group therapy [45]. At the end of this session, participants were asked to rate their SUD score. After these two sessions, participants filled in the IPQ. The entire experiment took about 25 minutes. This system allows participants to engage in a free speech dialogue with virtual characters while being monitored by a therapist, in this case the therapist was replaced by the researcher.

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