Research & Project Updates – 2020 #9

This week I finished up the character retopo and uving. I made sure I brought it into zBrush and re projected. I am looking forward to texturing the creature.

For my thesis project, the major struggle to finish the code is now done. The only real test left for it is to use the kinect and see if there are any bugs. I am guessing the only thing that could would be the switch when it check if a person is present or not. The rest should work pretty good. I’m actually excited to move on and start doing the audio and animations. My mind is burnt from this rewrite… Here is all the functions that are required to make the magic happen.

Research & Project Updates – 2020 #8

Thesis Project:

I made a lot of way on re-coding the way the program runs. I schedule some time this week to finish it and do a full test to make sure its 100% working.

Character Creation Pipeline:

The character is getting there. Slowly but surely. I am retopoing the creature before I add the fine details. Here is a screenshot so far in Blender:

Thesis I – Project Blog 2

Character background meeting

  • Alone does not like people
  • Needs people to survive and thrive
  • Grumpy / Scroogey
  • He knows he is in the painting
  • Has regrets – like missing out on his family because of work, past experiences
  • Likes to talk about his perspective of what he sees from as a painting
  • He is an Artist! Who loves his work, the painting, so much his soul is attached to it
  • Goes by his pen name


  • Take away message of the painting – Take a step back from work every once awhile and make time for yourself & your family.
    • Like a warning to visitors through the interact
  • Based locally in a distance Victorian era

Background Art

  • Canvas painting in BG
    • Happy – painting of family
    • Sad – distorted self portrait
    • Uses the same canvas but distorts and blends between the two


Thesis Topic:

Interacting with anthropomorphic A.Is can create and intensify participators’ connections, emotionally and physically, towards synthetic beings. Giving an artist the flexibility to communicate straight to their audience.


Anthropomorphism research

Giving human characteristics to animals, inanimate objects or natural phenomena is a human trait called “to anthropomorphize.”

The term anthropomorphism was coined by the Greek philosopher Xenophanes when describing the similarity between religious believers and their gods

Neuroscience research has shown that similar brain regions are involved when we think about the behavior of both humans and of nonhuman entities, suggesting that anthropomorphism may be using similar processes as those used for thinking about other people.

Human brains are tuned to try to understand other human’s intentions, thoughts and feelings. This concept is called Theory of Mind.

Specific regions of the brain contain populations of ‘mirror’ neurons are the same regions of the brain that are active when a person is anthropomorphizing.

Predicting the actions of animals and inanimate objects employs the same brain regions as predicting the behavior of another human. Though we can consciously differentiate between human and non-human, the same mechanisms in our brain are activated when we are observing actions of both.”

What accounts for this selectivity? One factor is similarity. An entity is more likely to be anthropomorphized if it appears to have many traits similar to those of humans (for example, through humanlike movements or physical features such as a face).

Various motivations may also influence anthropomorphism. For example, lacking social connections with other people might motivate lonely individuals to seek out connections from nonhuman items. Anthropomorphism helps us to simplify and make more sense of complicated entities.

Patricia Ganea, a psychologist at Toronto University, ran a series of experiments on three- to five-year-olds in which they were given information about animals in straight factual form and then in a more fantastical anthropomorphized way.

children were likely to attribute human characteristics to other animals and were less likely to retain factual information about them when told they lived their lives as furry humans.

attributing human-like intentions and beliefs is a “very natural way to explain certain animal behaviors”

lead to inappropriate behaviors

Proposed to be a result of a cognitive default state. The main idea behind this hypothesis is that the human brain evolved to efficiently process social information.

automatic response to any human-like behaviour (Caporael & Heyes, 1997) or human-like feature (Guthrie, 1997) that requires a swift identification or interpretation, which cannot be accounted for using the knowledge at hand.

Epley, Waytz, and Cacioppo (2007) proposes that anthropomorphizing has strong motivational triggers, particularly effectance and sociality.

The first is described as the need to make sense of the actions of other agents to reduce uncertainty concerning their behavior

he second refers to the need of people to maintain social connections

increased tendency to anthropomorphize in situations of high cognitive load (e.g. situations in which a lot of information needs to be processed at the same time) and in social isolation (Waytz, Gray, Epley, & Wegner, 2010).

rooted in social cognition,

Automatic processes such as motor matching mechanisms will probably be engaged as a result of observing animals displaying behaviours that are familiar to humans, especially if their anatomy and general configuration resemble those of a person (Buccino et al., 2004Kupferberg et al., 2012)

Anthropomorphic interpretations of nonhuman entities, especially animals, are supported by a set of cognitive mechanisms. Some of these processes, including motor matching mechanisms, evolved schemata and empathy for pain from the social cognition domain, are probably engaged in anthropomorphizing and mind attribution in an automatic way.

anthropomorphism provides an alternative “model” to help us to interpret behavior.

  • Personification: The attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something non-human, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.
  • Anthropomorphism is literal. Speaking animals or objects who talk, think, or behave like humans are all anthropomorphic. Think of Thomas the Tank Engine, Winnie the Pooh, or Peter Rabbit. They literally act as if human.
  • Personification is figurative. Do you sometimes feel like your computer hates you, especially when it’s not working right? Well, it can’t literally hate you because it’s not human.

Technopomorphism is the attribution of technological characteristics to human traits, emotions, intentions, or biological functions.

This brings to mind a third major problem with anthropomorphism: the uncanny valley. While adding humanlike interactions can contribute to good UX, too much (but not quite enough) similarity to a human can result in frustration, discomfort, and even revulsion.

Animism (i.e., perceiving life in nonliving entities)


Recipe for supreme happiness was other people

People need other humans in daily life for reasons ranging from the practical to the existential

Need is so strong that people sometimes create humans out of non-humans

Humanlike characteristics

Physical appearance

Emotional states perceived to be uniquely human

Inner mental states and motivations

Anthropomorphism does not include behavioral descriptions of observable actions

Requires going beyond what is directly observable to make inferences about unobservant humanlike characteristics

Does not merely entail animism

Animate life is not a uniquely human property

Does not include any requirement of reasoned or reflective endorsement of an inference

Anthropomorphism is no necessarily inaccurate

Considering an inference anthropomorphic only when it is clearly a mistake is itself a mistake

Some people anthropomorphize more than others, some situations induce anthropomorphism more than others, children tend to anthropomorphize more than adults, some cultures are notorious for their anthropomorphic religions and worldview

People reason about an unknown stimulus based on a better-known representation of a related stimulus, in this case reasoning about a nonhuman agent based on representations of the self or humans

Socially and effectance motivation

Sociality motivation is the fundamental need for social connection with other humans. When lacking social connection with other humans, people may compensate by creating humans out of nonhuman agents through anthropomorphism-increasing belief in anthropomorphized religious agents, GOD, or perceiving nonhumans to be more humanlike, PETS

Anthropomorphism can satisfy effectance motivation by providing a sense of understanding and control of a nonhuman agent, and should therefore increase as effectance motivation increases.

Participants in study1 who felt more chronically disconnected provided higher rankings of the supportive anthropomorphic traits than participants who felt more socially connected.

Participants who were chronically lonely would create agents of social support by anthropomorphizing their pets

Satisfy sociality needs

How effectance motivation may influence anthropomorphism

Dispositional tendency to seek understanding and control is facilitated by as stimulus that enables anthropomorphism

Seeing a nonhuman agent as humanlike not only entails the attribution of humanlike characteristics, but it also carries the consequence of moral agency



Due to the negative effect of anthropomorphism, right up to 2004, Pittsburgh Zoo did no publicly give name to its inhabitants – zoo decided to reverse policy and give animals name” because anthropomorphism can give rise to positive alternative effects

Use of the Paro robot in a nursing home: beyond the ethical question of quthenticity of the human-robot relationship, it clearly appeared that this therapeutic robot, developed by the Japanese AIST industrial consortium, was found especially comforting to patients with dementia