Avatar culture: cross-cultural evaluations of avatar facial expressions

Tomoko Koda, Toru Ishida, Matthias Rehm and Elisabeth André

erschienen 2009 "AI Soc.", Volume 24, Issue 3, Pages 237 - 250

Verlag: Springer



Avatars are increasingly used to express our emotions in our online communications. Such avatars are used based on the assumption that avatar expressions are interpreted universally among all cultures. This paper investigated cross-cultural evaluations of avatar expressions designed by Japanese and Western designers. The goals of the study were: (1) to investigate cultural differences in avatar expression evaluation and apply findings from psychological studies of human facial expression recognition, (2) to identify expressions and design features that cause cultural differences in avatar facial expression interpretation. The results of our study confirmed that (1) there are cultural differences in interpreting avatars’ facial expressions, and the psychological theory that suggests physical proximity affects facial expression recognition accuracy is also applicable to avatar facial expressions, (2) positive expressions have wider cultural variance in interpretation than negative ones, (3) use of gestures and gesture marks may sometimes cause counter-effects in recognizing avatar facial expressions.