My Automated Conversation Helper (MACH): Helping People Improve Social Skills

M. Ehsan Hoque


Ever been in a situation where you didn't get that job despite being the deserving candidate? What went wrong? Psychology literature suggests that the most important skill towards making an impression during interviews is your interpersonal/social skills. Is it possible for people to improve their social skills (e.g., vary the voice intonation, and pauses appropriately; use social smiles, when appropriate; and maintain eye contact) through a computerized intervention? In this thesis, I propose to develop an autonomous and Automated Conversation Helper (3D virtual character) that can play the role of the interviewer, allowing participants to practice their social skills in context of job interviews. The Automated Conversation Helper is being developed with the ability to "see" (facial expression processing), "hear" (speech recognition and prosody analysis) and "respond" (speech and behavior synthesis) in real-time and provide live feedback on participant's non-verbal behavior.

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