More Than Just a Friendly Phrase: Multimodal Aspects of Polite Behavior in Agents

Matthias Rehm and Elisabeth André

erschienen 2007 "Conversational Informatics", Pages 69 - 84

Verlag: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

ISBN: 978-0-47051-247-0 DOI:


In order to build embodied conversational agents that are able to communicate with the user in a more natural manner, the consideration of social aspects of communication is inevitable. But how do we gain the necessary insights in these aspects of communication? Due to the specific needs of technical artifacts like embodied conversational agents, the literature does not always give us the specific information necessary to build a running system. To keep the intuition of the researcher at bay, the video-based analysis of human-human interaction becomes ever more popular to meet the specific information needs of the computer scientist. In this chapter, we examine the merits and the use of video-based corpus analysis using the example of multimodal politeness strategies. The use of politeness is a pervasive aspect of social interaction; however, the literature on politeness focuses mainly on verbal means. But an embodied conversation agent is inherently multi-modal, making it necessary to incorporate not only verbal politeness behaviors. The chapter starts with an interdisciplinary introduction on politeness (Sec. 1.1) and its simulation by computer systems (Sec. 1.1.2). Using the Augsburg SEMMEL corpus, video-based corpus analysis is exemplified (Sec. 1.2). The results of this analysis are applied to control an embodied conversational agent (Sec. 1.3) and evaluated in a user study (Sec. 1.4).


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