Thesis I – Project Blog 4

Below are some videos of the final particle fx for the Procedural Art course. I decided to work on some effects referencing Battlefield 5. The main requirement was to create sprite sheets from Houdini and then make the effect in Unreal 4 engine using cascade. There was some difficulties with crashing and render times but even with those issues, I believe they came out well.



 

I added finish skin weighting the character and he is now imported into the screen. Prior to this, I created a zbrush file for creating blendshapes. Which is my plan to start work on this week.


Defense 1: Theory of Mind

To anthropomorphize something, we humanize that entity. We give it human characteristics, be it emotions, intentions, or thoughts. During that transformation, our brains begin to process and comprehend those distinct human traits. This cognitive process is called Theory of Mind. First reported in an article by psychologist David Premack. (Leslie) It later became a term psychologist use to describe the cognitive process that gives an individual the ability to comprehend another’s emotional and mental statues. This cerebral function starts to develop around age of 3-5. (Cherry) However other research has shown it could develop earlier or could be delayed depending on the individual. This ability to theorize or predict another’s state of mind – thought, emotion, and behaviors, is the most important function for survival for human beings. (Drubach) Being social individuals, we commutate in such a way to comprehend other’s intentions, thoughts, and feelings. (Nauert) As we do this, areas of our brains such as the temporoparietal junction activate. Additionally, anthropomorphizing activates the same area and the more a person anthropomorphizes, the larger the areas of the brain are for Theory of Mind processing. (Atherton) Predicting and theorizing, our brains never rest. Humans continuously try to make sense of everything around them, especially with motions.

Instinctually, we humanize non-human actors to predict their behavior, but we also anthropomorphize motions. Research has shown that processing and recognizing biological motion contributes to the awareness of animacy. (Atherton) Recognizing motion is an instant flow of information which allows humans to predict and identify an actor’s behavior. Humans expect to observe smooth human-like movements as oppose to erratic motions. Researcher also found that early in development, infants prefer biological movements over artificial and by the age of 2, prefer human motion. (Atherton) Example of biological movements would be objects moving in a coherent manner with respect to one another. (Airenti) Using movements alone, we can start to understand actor’s intentions. We interpret the two objects as interacting with one another. As both objects could understand one another. Instantly we begin to anthropomorphize the objects by assigning unique roles to each one. These anthropomorphized motions allow for easier recognition and predictions. It allows humans to theorize about what might the objects do next. As important as biological movement is to Theory of Mind, there is another process we anthropomorphiz to help interpret. This clever process is called facial recognition.

Face processing is part of the cognitive process in which humans can determine what a person is thinking when observing a facial expression. As infants, we naturally develop skills to determine faces and mimic facial expressions. Whether a face is familiar or not, we can immediately tell one face apart from another. As humans develop, this constant stimulus will train a person to specific facial shapes and emotions (Atherton) which enables us to see key differences in faces. An example of anthropomorphizing a face is when we humanize our pets. For this instance, humanizing the face of a pet. They would express anthropomorphizing terms to explain the facial expressions of it. Such as the pet is smiling or happy. We assign them behaviors and emotions. Using such vocabulary helps us instantly recognize the other entity’s status without ever needing to see it in person. This grants us the ability to simulate and mimic the experience using our imagination.

We often use our creativity to dream up anything that our hearts desires and anthropomorphism is a unique part of this. Inadvertently, we trick our brain into believing these non-human entities are other persons. This creates a sense of familiarity and predictability that we know and need. This feeling of ease allows us to use everyday strategies to determine what the other’s motivations are and enables us to predict future behaviors. Humanizing non-human actors can go a long way as anthropomorphism and Theory of Mind triggers the same part of ours brains. Human need predictable communication and environments. We strive to make sense of the purpose of other’s goals. If we are unable to comprehend any situation, we will start to anthropomorphize. As soon as this happens, the humanized situation becomes easier to accept, comprehend and predict.

 

Works Cited

Airenti, Gabriella. "The Development of Anthropomorphism in Interaction: Intersubjectivity, Imagination, and Theory of Mind." (2018). <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6231421/>.

Atherton, Gray and Cross, Liam. "Seeing More Than Human: Autism and Anthropomorphic Theory of Mind." (2018). <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5932358/>.

Cherry, Kendra. How the Theory of Mind Helps Us Understand Others. 26 July 2019. <https://www.verywellmind.com/theory-of-mind-4176826>.

Drubach, Daniel A. "The Purpose and Neurobiology of Theory of Mind Functions." Blanton-Peale Institute, 18 December 2007. Online.

Leslie, A.M. "Theory of Mind." International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Elsevier Ltd, 2001. <https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/theory-of-mind>.

Nauert, Dr. Rick. PsychCentral. 15 June 2019.

Thompson, Brittany N. Psychology Today. 03 July 2017. Website. <https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/socioemotional-success/201707/theory-mind-understanding-others-in-social-world>.