Thesis I – Project Blog 5

This week, I worked on my studio project. My task was to start the blendshapes and get most done. I got most created and have about 12 left. I plan on working this week on wrapping it up and importing it into Unity and attaching LipSync. Also reminder to me: both top & bottom teeth are not UVed. Copy UVs from the combined game mesh for the final piece.

Here are some tests:


ROUGH ROUGH DRAFT of defense 2: Social cognition

Defense 2: Social Cognition

            Anthropomorphism and theory of mind intertwine with one another. As noted earlier, they trigger the temporoparietal junction in our brains highlighting the connection between, but anthropomorphism goes further than theory of mind. The phenomena can affect our cognitive function that processes how we perceive others, and how we view the surrounding world. (Cherry, Social Cognition in Psychology) Psychologists who study this process called it social cognition.

Social cognition is the “mental processes that (are) involved in perceiving, remembering, thinking about, and attending to the other people in our social world.” (Cherry, Social Cognition in Psychology) These processes influence how people behave, form impressions, and react to others. Simply put, it is the way we store, process, and interact with other living and non-living entities. Many things can encourage the develop of our social abilities such as culture, ideologies, experiences and so on. With anthropomorphism in mind, this cognitive ability grants humans an efficient way for our minds to process social stimulus that engulfs us every day. Predicting, and comprehending is important to us hence why we anthropomorphize the unknown. It puts the current unknown entity into context reducing uncertainty and allows for a simple way to communicate and socially reason to others about them. (Atherton) Therefore, anthropomorphism allows for an efficient way to socially predict and comprehend. Unfortunately, this mental efficiency can come at a cost.

Visually, we are highly sensitive to humanlike characteristics. (Agnieszka Wykowska) Our awareness of the difference between living and inanimate is impressive. As earlier, I explain how we naturally favor smooth human-like movements, called biological motions and how we are born with facial recognition but even with those traits, we make assumptions on what we observe. (Susan R. Fussell) When we interact with entities, we assign categories based on stimuli such as facial features and shapes, body shapes, gender, etc. When humans cannot understand the actor, we unknowingly rely on stereotypes we have learned to process their behaviors, and traits. (Susan R. Fussell) As the actor becomes more similar in appearance to oneself, the more we are likely to reference ourselves and anthropomorphize the non-human entity. (Atherton) Either anthropomorphizing or not, we judge because it allows us to create make assumptions. This assumption allows for forecast of behaviors of the entity and the environment that we are surrounded in. Another important aspect of social cognition is the need for connection that we draw from when we interaction with others.

Human beings desire and crave for some type of interaction that has the potential to produce a connection, emotionally and/or physically. From infants to adults, the social connection between others is a survival instinct. Plucking a person out of their social life, or rather, banish an individual would be a “death sentence for one’s genetic inheritance”. (Atherton) This type of punishment can have an enormous effect to an individual. Lacking or being withdrawn from social connections can influence and trigger the same neural functions that can induce physical pain. (Atherton) This pain may lead the individual to seek for a connection elsewhere. Requiring the person to seek a social connection and will start to anthropomorphize nonhuman entities to satisfy their lust. This basic motivation has been researched and found out that the lonelier a person is, the more they have connected with anthropomorphize objects. (Adam Waytz) Satisfying our need for a connection is important whether its fulfilled by living or nonliving entities. We need “someone” to survive.

Anthropomorphizing has its benefits. It allows us to be able to predict, to comprehend, and to make assumptions about the uncertainty. Lonely individuals that are deprived from social connection and interaction will anthropomorphize and feel at ease. Anthropomorphizing, to me, is about efficiency. This efficiency enables us to expect future actions from others. Removing the uncertainty that we as humans try so hard to unveil and learn what lies within.

 

Works Cited

Adam Waytz, Nicholas Epley, and John T. Cacioppo. "Social Cognition Unbound: Insights Into Anthropomorphism and Dehumanization." Psychological Science. 19 February 2010.

Agnieszka Wykowska, Thierry Chaminade, and Gordon Cheng. "Embodied Artificial Agents for Understanding Human Social Cognition." Philosophical Transacations B, 19 February 2016.

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>.

—. "Social Cognition in Psychology." Very Well Mind, 13 August 2019. <www.verywellmind.com/social-cognition-2795912>.

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

Karolina Zawieska, Brian R. Duffy, and Agnieszka Spronska. "Understanding Anthropomorphisation in Social Robots." Pomiary Automatyka Robotyka. November 2012.

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.

Nicholas Epley, Adam Waytz, and John T. Cacioppo. "On Seeing Human: A Three-Factor Theory of Anthropomorphism." Psychological Review. The American Psychological Association, 2007.

Susan R. Fussell, Sara Kiesler, Leslie D. Setlock, and Victoria Yew. "How People Anthropomorphize Robots." Carnegie Mellon University, 12 March 2008.

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>.