Planning Smalltalk Behavior with Cultural Influences for Multiagent Systems

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Abstract

There are several factors that influence communicative behavior, such as gender, personality or culture. As virtual agents interact in a more and more human-like manner, their behavior should be dependent on social factors as well. Culture is a phenomenon that affects one’s behavior without one realizing it. Behavior is thus sometimes perceived as inappropriate because there is no awareness of the cultural gap. Thus, we think cultural background should also influence the communication behavior of virtual agents. Behavioral differences are sometimes easy to recognize by humans but still hard to describe formally, to enable integration into a system that automatically generates culture-specific behavior. In our work, we focus on culture-related differences in the domain of casual Small Talk. Our model of culture-related differences in Small Talk behavior is based on findings described in the literature as well as on a video corpus that was recorded in Germany and Japan. In a validation study, we provide initial evidence that our simulation of culture-specific Small Talk with virtual agents is perceived differently by human observers. We thus implemented a system that automatically generates culture-specific Small Talk dialogs for virtual agents.
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There are several factors that influence communicative behavior, such as gender, personality or culture. As virtual agents interact in a more and more human-like manner, their behavior should be dependent on social factors as well. Culture is a phenomenon that affects one’s behavior without one realizing it. Behavior is thus sometimes perceived as inappropriate because there is no awareness of the cultural gap. Thus, we think cultural background should also influence the communication behavior of virtual agents. Behavioral differences are sometimes easy to recognize by humans but still hard to describe formally, to enable integration into a system that automatically generates culture-specific behavior. In our work, we focus on culture-related differences in the domain of casual Small Talk. Our model of culture-related differences in Small Talk behavior is based on findings described in the literature as well as on a video corpus that was recorded in Germany and Japan. In a validation study, we provide initial evidence that our simulation of culture-specific Small Talk with virtual agents is perceived differently by human observers. We thus implemented a system that automatically generates culture-specific Small Talk dialogs for virtual agents.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComputer Speech and Language
Volume25
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)158-174
ISSN0885-2308
DOI
StatePublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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