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Claudia Sinoo, Sylvia van der Pal, Olivier A Blanson Henkemans, Anouk Keizer, Bert P B Bierman, Rosemarijn Looije, Mark A Neerincx
OBJECTIVE: The PAL project develops a conversational agent with a physical (robot) and virtual (avatar) embodiment to support diabetes self-management of children ubiquitously. This paper assesses 1) the effect of perceived similarity between robot and avatar on children's' friendship towards the avatar, and 2) the effect of this friendship on usability of a self-management application containing the avatar (a) and children's motivation to play with it (b). METHODS: During a four-day diabetes camp in the Netherlands, 21 children participated in interactions with both agent embodiments...
February 21, 2018: Patient Education and Counseling
Morad Chughtai, John J Kelly, Jared M Newman, Assem A Sultan, Anton Khlopas, Nipun Sodhi, Anil Bhave, Michael C Kolczun, Michael A Mont
This study evaluated the use of telerehabilitation during the postoperative period for patients who underwent total knee arthroplasty (TKA) or unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA). Specifically, this study evaluated the following: (1) patient compliance and adherence to the program, (2) time spent performing physical therapy exercises, (3) the usability of the virtual rehabilitation platform, and (4) clinical outcome scores in a selected primary knee arthroplasty cohort. A total of 157 consecutive patients underwent TKA ( n  = 18) or UKA ( n  = 139)...
March 16, 2018: Journal of Knee Surgery
Thomas Waltemate, Dominik Gall, Daniel Roth, Mario Botsch, Marc Erich Latoschik
This article reports the impact of the degree of personalization and individualization of users' avatars as well as the impact of the degree of immersion on typical psychophysical factors in embodied Virtual Environments. We investigated if and how virtual body ownership (including agency), presence, and emotional response are influenced depending on the specific look of users' avatars, which varied between (1) a generic hand-modeled version, (2) a generic scanned version, and (3) an individualized scanned version...
April 2018: IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Tabitha C Peck, My Doan, Kimberly A Bourne, Jessica J Good
The underrepresentation of women in technical and STEM fields is a well-known problem, and stereotype threatening situations have been linked to the inability to recruit and retain women into these fields. Virtual reality enables the unique ability to perform body-swap illusions, and research has shown that these illusions can change participant behavior. Characteristically people take on the traits of the avatar they are embodying. We hypothesized that female participants embodying male avatars when a stereotype threat was made salient would demonstrate stereotype lift...
April 2018: IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Ginga Kato, Yoshihiro Kuroda, Kiyoshi Kiyokawa, Haruo Takemura
Most existing locomotion devices that represent the sensation of walking target a user who is actually performing a walking motion. Here, we attempted to represent the walking sensation, especially a kinesthetic sensation and advancing feeling (the sense of moving forward) while the user remains seated. To represent the walking sensation using a relatively simple device, we focused on the force rendering and its evaluation of the longitudinal friction force applied on the sole during walking. Based on the measurement of the friction force applied on the sole during actual walking, we developed a novel friction force display that can present the friction force without the influence of body weight...
April 2018: IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Sidney Bovet, Henrique Galvan Debarba, Bruno Herbelin, Eray Molla, Ronan Boulic
With the broad range of motion capture devices available on the market, it is now commonplace to directly control the limb movement of an avatar during immersion in a virtual environment. Here, we study how the subjective experience of embodying a full-body controlled avatar is influenced by motor alteration and self-contact mismatches. Self-contact is in particular a strong source of passive haptic feedback and we assume it to bring a clear benefit in terms of embodiment. For evaluating this hypothesis, we experimentally manipulate self-contacts and the virtual hand displacement relatively to the body...
April 2018: IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Dennis Küster
Small pupils elicit empathic socioemotional responses comparable to those found for emotional tears. This might be understood in an evolutionary context. Intense emotional tearing increases tear film volume and disturbs tear layer uniformity, resulting in blurry vision. A constriction of the pupils may help to mitigate this handicap, which in turn may have resulted in a perceptual association of both signals. However, direct empirical evidence for a role of pupil size in tearful emotional crying is still lacking...
January 2018: Evolutionary Psychology: An International Journal of Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology and Behavior
Sanjeev Jain, Alok Sarin
The history of the mental hospital in Delhi is a fascinating story. Set up in colonial times, the asylum in Delhi seems to reflect the tumultuous and chaotic history of the city itself. It was perhaps established in the early 19th century, and functions till 1857, when it is ransacked in the Mutiny. It is subsequently merged with the asylum at Lahore in 1861, set up again, and incredibly, closed again at the turn of the century. Subject to the whims of administrators and policy makers, the asylum then ceases to exist till the 1960s when a new avatar appears...
February 2018: Indian Journal of Psychiatry
Davide Moiani, Daryl A Ronato, Chris A Brosey, Andrew S Arvai, Aleem Syed, Jean-Yves Masson, Elena Petricci, John A Tainer
For inhibitor design, as in most research, the best system is question dependent. We suggest structurally defined allostery to design specific inhibitors that target regions beyond active sites. We choose systems allowing efficient quality structures with conformational changes as optimal for structure-based design to optimize inhibitors. We maintain that evolutionarily related targets logically provide molecular avatars, where this Sanskrit term for descent includes ideas of functional relationships and of being a physical embodiment of the target's essential features without requiring high sequence identity...
2018: Methods in Enzymology
Jheanell Hall, Mar Rus-Calafell, Lorraine Omari-Asor, Thomas Ward, Richard Emsley, Philippa Garety, Tom K J Craig
This study assessed the subjective experience of participating in a clinical trial, specifically positive and negative experiences and the experience of audio recording assessment sessions. The study was cross-sectional from a single blinded randomised controlled trial. Forty participants with a primary diagnosis of non-organic psychosis completed baseline and 12-week follow-up questionnaires assessing their experiences. Participants rated research interviews as moderately helpful in facilitating their therapy and talking to the interviewer as moderately helpful at baseline and 12-week follow-up...
February 13, 2018: Psychiatry Research
Mariana Malvicini, Ana Gutierrez-Moraga, Marcelo M Rodriguez, Sofia Gomez-Bustillo, Lorena Salazar, Carlos Sunkel, Leonor Nozal, Antonio Salgado, Manuel Hidalgo, Pedro P Lopez-Casas, Jose Luis Novella, Juan Jose Vaquero, Julio Alvarez-Builla, Adda Mora, Manuel Gidekel, Guillermo Mazzolini
In colorectal carcinoma (CRC) patients, distant metastatic disease is present at initial diagnosis in nearly 25% of them. The majority of patients with metastatic CRC have incurable disease; therefore, new therapies are needed. Agents derived from medicinal plants have already demonstrated therapeutic activities in human cancer cells. Antartina™ is an antitumor agent isolated from Deschampsia antarctica Desv. This study aimed to evaluate the antitumor properties of Antartina™ in CRC models. We used human and murine CRC cell lines for investigating proliferation, apoptosis and cell cycle effects of Antartina™ therapy in vitro...
February 26, 2018: Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
Barbara Caola, Martina Montalti, Alessandro Zanini, Antony Leadbetter, Matteo Martini
Classically, body ownership illusions are triggered by cross-modal synchronous stimulations, and hampered by multisensory inconsistencies. Nonetheless, the boundaries of such illusions have been proven to be highly plastic. In this immersive virtual reality study, we explored whether it is possible to induce a sense of body ownership over a virtual body part during visuomotor inconsistencies, with or without the aid of concomitant visuo-tactile stimulations. From a first-person perspective, participants watched a virtual tube moving or an avatar's arm moving, with or without concomitant synchronous visuo-tactile stimulations on their hand...
January 1, 2018: Perception
Sven Thönes, Kurt Stocker, Peter Brugger, Heiko Hecht
Recent evidence has shown that the mental representation of time is "embodied"-time is expressed via the hands, the eyes, and the whole body. These findings suggest the existence of a manually reflected mental time line running (in Western culture) horizontally from left (past) to right (future) and an ocularly reflected mental time line running from left/down (past) to right/up (future). We addressed the question whether mental time is also reflected interpersonally and investigated whether an avatar's face orientation (left vs...
February 20, 2018: Cognitive Processing
Benjamin A Rein, Daniel W McNeil, Allison R Hayes, T Anne Hawkins, H Mei Ng, Catherine A Yura
OBJECTIVE: Training programs exist that prepare college students, faculty, and staff to identify and support students potentially at risk for suicide. Kognito is an online program that trains users through simulated interactions with virtual humans. This study evaluated Kognito's effectiveness in preparing users to intervene with at-risk students. PARTICIPANTS: Training was completed by 2,727 university students, faculty, and staff from April, 2014 through September, 2015...
February 20, 2018: Journal of American College Health: J of ACH
Klaus R Scherer, Marcello Mortillaro, Irene Rotondi, Ilaria Sergi, Stéphanie Trznadel
Although research on facial emotion recognition abounds, there has been little attention on the nature of the underlying mechanisms. In this article, using a "reverse engineering" approach, we suggest that emotion inference from facial expression mirrors the expression process. As a strong case can be made for an appraisal theory account of emotional expression, which holds that appraisal results directly determine the nature of facial muscle actions, we claim that observers first detect specific appraisals from different facial muscle actions and then use implicit inference rules to categorize and name specific emotions...
March 2018: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Cesco Willemse, Serena Marchesi, Agnieszka Wykowska
Gaze behavior of humanoid robots is an efficient mechanism for cueing our spatial orienting, but less is known about the cognitive-affective consequences of robots responding to human directional cues. Here, we examined how the extent to which a humanoid robot (iCub) avatar directed its gaze to the same objects as our participants affected engagement with the robot, subsequent gaze-cueing, and subjective ratings of the robot's characteristic traits. In a gaze-contingent eyetracking task, participants were asked to indicate a preference for one of two objects with their gaze while an iCub avatar was presented between the object photographs...
2018: Frontiers in Psychology
Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis, Domna Banakou, Manuela Garcia Quiroga, Christos Giachritsis, Mel Slater
The ability to perspective-take (cognitive awareness of another's state) and empathise (emotional/affective response) are important characteristics for sensitive, co-operative and constructive parenting, which assists in developing adaptive functioning for children. For the first time, immersive virtual reality was used to place parents in the position of a child in order to assess impact on perspective-taking and empathy. This novel study was conducted with 20 non-high risk Spanish mothers (a pilot study with 12 mothers is reported in supplementary files)...
February 14, 2018: Scientific Reports
Anne Thaler, Michael N Geuss, Simone C Mölbert, Katrin E Giel, Stephan Streuber, Javier Romero, Michael J Black, Betty J Mohler
Previous literature suggests that a disturbed ability to accurately identify own body size may contribute to overweight. Here, we investigated the influence of personal body size, indexed by body mass index (BMI), on body size estimation in a non-clinical population of females varying in BMI. We attempted to disentangle general biases in body size estimates and attitudinal influences by manipulating whether participants believed the body stimuli (personalized avatars with realistic weight variations) represented their own body or that of another person...
2018: PloS One
Andrew M Earle, Joseph W LaBrie, Sarah C Boyle, Daniel Smith
Our recent work (Boyle, Earle, LaBrie, & Smith, 2017) showed that the efficacy of personalized normative feedback-based (PNF) college alcohol interventions can be improved through the addition of gamified elements including points, chance, competition, and personal avatars. However, participants in that study were compensated with subject pool credit. In the current study, we piloted an upgraded, smartphone-based version of the game, which was designed to be truly self-sustaining (i.e., engaging enough that students play voluntarily without the presence of external motivators)...
January 6, 2018: Addictive Behaviors
Deborah I Thompson, Dora Cantu, Chishinga Callender, Yan Liu, Mayur Rajendran, Madhur Rajendran, Yuting Zhang, Zhigang Deng
OBJECTIVE: Exergames played with a photorealistic avatar may enhance motivation to play, in addition to frequency, duration, and intensity of game-play. This article reports the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of an exergame played with a photorealistic avatar on physical activity (PA) intensity in a laboratory-based study. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Teens (12-14 years old) were recruited from a large, metropolitan area of the southwestern United States. Parents provided written informed consent...
February 6, 2018: Games for Health
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