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Title page for ETD etd-12022009-103642

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Welch, Karla Conn
Author's Email Address karla.conn@yahoo.com
URN etd-12022009-103642
Title Psychophysiological Analysis of Affective States in Human-Computer Interaction for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Degree PhD
Department Electrical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Nilanjan Sarkar Committee Chair
Bobby Bodenheimer Committee Member
Mitch Wilkes Committee Member
Wendy Stone Committee Member
Zachary Warren Committee Member
  • affective computing
  • virtual reality
  • human-machine interaction
  • closed-loop adaptation
  • biopotentials
  • typically-developing teenagers
  • avatars
  • eye contact
  • social distance
Date of Defense 2009-11-30
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation addresses the problem of how to make technology-based intervention tools for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect-sensitive. Two computer-based cognitive tasks are designed to elicit the affective states of liking, anxiety, and engagement. A large set of physiological indices are investigated. Subjective reports on affective states from a therapist, a parent, and the child are collected and analyzed. Therapist-like affective models are designed using Support Vector Machines, which yields 82.9% prediction. The models are applied during affect-sensitive human-robot interaction where the robot adapts its behaviors to detected affective states of a child with ASD. This success motivates the design and evaluation of realistic social interaction scenarios for ASD children using virtual environments. The results support the viability of physiology-based affective computing for future ASD intervention.
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