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In this article, we investigate human sensitivity to the coordination and timing of conversational body language for virtual characters. First, we captured the full body motions (excluding faces and hands) of three actors conversing about a range of topics, in either a polite (i.e., one person talking at a time) or debate/argument style. Stimuli were then created by applying the motion-captured conversations from the actors to virtual characters. In a 2AFC experiment, participants viewed paired sequences of synchronized and desynchronized conversations and were asked to guess which was the real one. Detection performance was above chance for both conversation styles but more so for the polite conversations, where desynchronization was more noticeable.
McDonnell, R., Ennis, C., Dobbyn, S. and O'Sullivan, C. (2009) Talking Bodies: Sensitivity to Desynchronization of Conversations. ACM transactions on applied perception, 6, 4, Article 22 (September 2009), doi:10.1145/1609967.1609969