T.Wörtwein, L.-P. Morency and S. Scherer, Automatic Assessment and Analysis of Public Speaking Anxiety: A Virtual Audience Case Study. In Proceedings of International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII), 2015
Giving a public speech is sometimes reported by the presenter to be more fearful than death. However, public speaking skills are not only important in presentations but also in job interviews, negotiations, and in daily interactions.
In our group, we have looked at public speaking from many facets including speaker traits, reactions of the audience, public speaking performance, and public speaking anxiety. In a study with a virtual audience, we investigated automatic behavioral markers for public speaking performance and anxiety. For example, we observed that individuals with a higher self-reported public speaking anxiety score tend to have less eye contact with the audience, have a smaller variation in loudness, have more pauses, and express more facial fear expressions.
Psychological Distress is a group of overlapping mental disorders which include depression, anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While depressed individuals often lose interest in activities and feel sad or overwhelmed, PTSD is mainly characterized by flashbacks to traumatic events.
We evaluated behaviors of a large group of individuals in interviews with a virtual human. In these interviews, people answered questions related to symptoms of depression and PTSD. During these interactions, we observed more downwards gaze behavior for self-reported depression, a more tense voice for self-reported PTSD and self-reported depression, and less smile intensity for self-reported PTSD. Currently, we focus on automatically estimating behavioral markers which are typically measured by therapists and clinicians.