Non-Verbal Cues for Discourse Structure

Justine Cassell†, Yukiko I. Nakano†, Timothy W. Bickmore†,

Candace L. Sidner‡, and Charles Rich‡


†MIT Media Laboratory

20 Ames Street

Cambridge, MA 02139

{justine, yukiko, bickmore}


‡Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories

201 Broadway

Cambridge, MA 02139

{sidner, rich}




This paper addresses the issue of designing embodied conversational agents that exhibit appropriate posture shifts during dialogues with human users.  Previous research has noted the importance of hand gestures, eye gaze and head nods in conversations between embodied agents and humans. We present an analysis of human monologues and dialogues that suggests that postural shifts can be predicted as a function of discourse state in monologues, and discourse and conversation state in dialogues. On the basis of these findings, we have implemented an embodied conversational agent that uses Collagen in such a way as to generate postural shifts.