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Phil McAleer, Barbara Mazzarino, Gaultiero Volpe, Antonio Camurri, Helena Patterson, Frank Pollick; Perceiving Animacy and Arousal in Transformed Displays of Human Interaction. Journal of Vision 2004;4(8):230. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/4.8.230.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
How visual cues reveal animacy and social meaning to moving displays is an open question. We investigated this question using techniques of computer vision and image processing that enable full video displays of human action to be decomposed and subsequently transformed into abstract representations of the movement. Using the multimedia analysis program Eyesweb (Infomus lab, U. Genoa), we created visual displays of the same interaction between two dancers performing a modern dance. Four conditions were created that reduced the visual information available. These were: (1) full video recording; (2) body silhouettes; (3) motion of the center of each dancer represented by a single small block changing size in accordance with the motion energy of the dancer; (4) motion of the center of the dancer represented by a single small block that did not change size. Using a between subjects design, participants viewed a two-minute display of a single condition. While viewing, they were asked to provide a continuous measurement of arousal by moving a slider up and down. After this they were asked to write a description of what they had seen. Average arousal ratings were obtained for each condition and analysis revealed higher average ratings of arousal for the full video and silhouette conditions. The free response data was analyzed for spontaneous mention of terms relating to animacy of the display elements. These results indicated that animacy terms were used for the full video and silhouette conditions but not the block conditions. The results are discussed in relation to previous methods used to create stimuli resulting in the attribution of animacy and social meaning to abstract displays of motion.
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