Communicating discrete emotions using mediated touch.
Checa Romero, L.R.
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Even though touch plays an important role in human communication, modern internet communication focuses predominantly on visual and auditory interaction. In order to investigate whether discrete emotions can be communicated using a haptic device, an experiment was conducted in which one participant would try to communicate a discrete emotion, while another participant tried to recognize this emotion. I measured the percentage of correct identification of emotions in five different conditions, namely mediated, real or no touch, dividing the first two up in visible and invisible touch. Participants would see each other’s facial expressions in all five conditions. To make a set-up that resembled face-to-face communication, for the visible mediated touch condition the hands holding the haptic device were projected on top of each other. I used questionnaires to obtain subjective measures of the perceived closeness and perceived ability to recognize emotions across different conditions. Results showed no significant improvements in communicating emotions for the different touch conditions, although the projected haptic device made the mediated touch feel more real, and the contact was nevertheless perceived as more comforting.