PASION@UNIBI - A.I. & V.R. group - Bielefeld University British Flag German Flag


Psychologically Augmented
Social Interaction Over Networks


Ever more frequently, social and particularly group interactions, involve mediated communication. Yet we know very little about the factors determining the effectiveness of the interaction. How do participants in mediated communication substitute the implicit, and non verbal signals which play such an important role in traditional, face to face communication? What are the equivalent signals in a mediated environment? The mechanisms involved in traditional communication are well-known. By contrast, very little is known about
the forms of mediated communication. For instance, we do not know the role of implicit and non-verbal communication when the communication takes place in a mediated environment. PASION’s working hypothesis is that in mediated environments these messages will take completely new forms and that these forms are due to group interactions in technology-mediated environments.

As current communication technologies are ineffective in conveying the social, non-verbal and contextual information required for effective communication, PASION will deliver an innovative shared virtual environment where a pioneering mediated social communication will take place. During trials PASION will be used by “large community of mobile users” providing strategic support to the activity of the group (adapted to the needs of specific applications in collaborative work and social gaming) by implementing “specific feedback strategies” based on the interpretation of the state and dynamics of social communication within the group.

In the four years of the project, PASION will investigate the basic scientific and technological issues which need to be resolved to achieve this goal. Basic research will investigate the socio-psychological foundations of mediated social interaction. Wizard-of-Oz prototypes will be used to elicit user input on basic concepts. Ergonomic studies will investigate critical issues of usability and user acceptability. Using this input, the project will design and develop new techniques to capture information relevant to social communication, and new ways of representing this information to users within the SVE. Two trials (one for each specific application collaborative work, and social gaming) will investigate the effectiveness the concepts and technologies incorporated in the environment. A special effort will be dedicated to the investigation of the complicated ethical issues raised by this work, and to plans for business development.


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