Special Issue on Subtle Expressivity for Characters and Robots

Call for Papers for a Special Issue on Subtle Expressivity for Characters and Robots of the The international Journal of Human-Computer Studies.

This special issue is devoted to theoretical and empirical studies of subtle expressivity for characters and robots. It is associated with the workshop on the same theme held at CHI2003 in Ft. Lauderdale. However, we seeks submissions not only from just the workshop participants, but from all researchers who have been working on the topic.People both consciously and unconsciously use subtle expressions to indirectly communicate their emotions and intentions through variations of gaze direction, voice tone and gesture speed. People also perceive changes in the internal states of others from subtle changes in their expressivities while interacting with them. Subtle expressivity plays the supporting part to the leading role of explicit expressivity, such as contents of speech or category of facial expressions. However, subtle expressivity plays an important role to give moderate effects or gently regulate the relationship among the participants through a continuous interaction.

The human-computer interaction (HCI) research community has come to recognize life-likeness and personality as important objectives of software design that seeks to reduce cognitive load. However, we are far from having coherent understanding of what subtle expressivity actually is and how products and processes can address it. We might question whether designing for subtle expressivity will result in gentle emotional effects on people and whether the processes and topics involved differ in any significant way from designing for believability or personality.


We invite for contributions from HCI experts, who have designed, implemented and evaluated subtle expressivity on interactive media for giving moderate emotional effects on users through interaction. Examples include embodied characters, communication robots and conversational systems.
Relevant topics include:

Concepts, theories and guidelines: Conceptual contribution for design of subtle expressions including psychological theory or software quality models.

  • How to create emotional expressions in the various communication channels?
    • What kind of vocabulary of emotional and conversational expressions does the character need?
    • What minimal set of subtle expressions is necessary to realize life-likeness of characters?
    • Implementation methods: Case study for software/hardware products using subtle expressivity.
  • How can technology adapt to user preferences?
    • What types of software architectures are necessary for an emotional expressive character?
    • What subtle expressions to software architecture are important in designing characters and robots?
    • Measuring methods: Evaluation contribution of moderate effects of subtle expressivity.
  • How can these effects be measured?
    • On what attributes of the interaction between the character and the user will the expressions have effects?
    • How can subtle expressions enhance empathic interaction?

Prospective authors should keep in mind that the focus of the journal is on human-computer interaction. Papers describing subtle expressivity for characters and robots should clearly emphasize this aspect, and should include the results of an evaluation.


Noriko Suzuki and Christoph Bartneck


Papers all also expected to conform with the IJHCS guidelines which are on the Elsevier web site at: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ijhcs under the “Author Gateway” link.

Send your submission to noriko@atr.co.jp
Submission Deadline: January 31st, 2004
Notification: March 31st, 2004

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