Human-Computer Interaction

Augmenting Social Behavior


In this project, we explore the augmentation of communicative phenomena in social interactions. We cannot ‘not’ communicate (Watzlawick et al., 1967), and therefore communicative processes are of high importance for future social virtual reality (VR) applications. Yet, a mere replication of the physical world may not leverage the potential of VR, mixed and augmented reality and therefore a creating communicative metaphors beyond what is possible in the real world (Hollan & Stornetta, 1992) is the target of this project. Therefore we aim at creating communicative and social augmentations by decoupling the physical behavior from virtual representations (Bailenson et al., 2004; Bailenson et al., 2005). For example, we investigate how artificial mimicry, artificial gaze behavior or visual transformations of behavior affect virtual social interactions and whether neuronal signatures can be used to derive affective signals to augment communication. We design and implement hybrid avatar-agent technologies (Roth et al., 2015) for multi-user immersive real-time interactions. The insights of our research help us to understand virtual interaction and the impact of technology as such, but also communicative behavior of humans. The project also aims at i) designing assistive systems for individuals that suffer from social- and communicative disorders, ii) inventing new metaphors and affordances for virtual social interactions, iii) creatively investigating the possibilities of mixed realities. To do so, the project explores the design space of social augmentation, develops novel technologies for real-time interactive systems, but also investigates their impact on society and reflects ethical implications. The project intersects with areas from Computer Science such as Human-Computer-Interaction and Computer Graphics but also implies intersections with Cognitive Sciences and Psychology as well as Computer Graphics, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. We are open to students that pursue their Bachelor and Master projects or thesis, as well as internships and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Bailenson, J. N., Beall, A. C., Loomis, J., Blascovich, J., & Turk, M. (2004). Transformed social interaction: Decoupling representation from behavior and form in collaborative virtual environments. PRESENCE: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 13(4), 428–441.

Bailenson, J. N., Beall, A. C., Loomis, J., Blascovich, J., & Turk, M. (2005). Transformed social interaction, augmented gaze, and social influence in immersive virtual environments. Human communication research, 31(4), 511.

Hollan, J., & Stornetta, S. (1992). Beyond being there. Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI ’92, 119–125.

Roth, D., Latoschik, M. E., Vogeley, K., & Bente, G. (2015). Hybrid Avatar-Agent Technology – A Conceptual Step Towards Mediated “Social” Virtual Reality and its Respective Challenges. i-com, 14(2), 107–114.

Watzlawick, P., Beavin, J. H., & Jackson, D. D. (1967). Some tentative axioms of communication. I Pragmatics of human communication: A study of interactional patterns, pathologies, and paradoxes (p. 48-71). New York, NY: WW Norton & Company. Ina von Schantz Lundgren & Mats Lundgren.

Theses and projects


Lisa Längrich, Tristan Eisermann, Paul Günther, Felix Werner, Valentin Roß, Clemens Reitelbach Bachelor Project

Social and Communicative Augmentations: Augmented Affordances for Virtual Social and Collaborative Interactions
Creating a design space for visual, auditive, or haptic augmentations for collaborative and/or social interactions in Virtual Reality (VR). Developing a prototype based on previous work (existing implementations) and conducting a first evaluative study.

Funding and Collaboration


Primary Investigator


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