An Eye Gaze Model for Controlling the Display of Social Status in Believable Virtual Humans

Michael Nixon, Steve DiPaola, Ulysses Bernardet

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


Abstract—Designing highly believable characters remains a
major concern within digital games. Matching a chosen personality and other dramatic qualities to displayed behavior is
an important part of improving overall believability. Gaze is
a critical component of social exchanges and serves to make
characters engaging or aloof, as well as to establish character’s
role in a conversation.
In this paper, we investigate the communication of status
related social signals by means of a virtual human’s eye gaze.
We constructed a cross-domain verbal-conceptual computational
model of gaze for virtual humans to facilitate the display of social
status. We describe the validation of the model’s parameters,
including the length of eye contact and gazes, movement velocity,
equilibrium response, and head and body posture. In a first set
of studies, conducted on Amazon Mechanical Turk using prerecorded video clips of animated characters, we found statistically
significant differences in how the characters’ status was rated
based on the variation in social status.
In a second step based on these empirical findings, we designed
an interactive system that incorporates dynamic eye tracking and
spoken dialog, along with real-time control of a virtual character.
We evaluated the model using a presential, interactive scenario of
a simulated hiring interview. Corroborating our previous finding,
the interactive study yielded significant differences in perception
of status were found (p = .046). Thus, we believe status is an
important aspect of dramatic believability, and accordingly, this
paper presents our social eye gaze model for realistic procedurally
animated characters and shows its efficacy.
Index Terms—procedural animation, believable characters,
virtual human, gaze, social interaction, nonverbal behaviour,
video games
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2018 IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games (CIG)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5386-4359-4
ISBN (Print)978-1-5386-4360-0
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2018
Event2018 IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games (CIG) - Maastricht, Netherlands
Duration: 14 Aug 201817 Aug 2018

Publication series

Name2018 IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games (CIG)
ISSN (Print)2325-4270
ISSN (Electronic)2325-4289


Conference2018 IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games (CIG)

Bibliographical note

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