Towards Computer-Assisted Regulation of Emotions: Dissertation

Toni Vanhala

Research output: ThesisDissertationCollection of Articles


Emotions are intimately connected with our lives. They are essential in motivating behaviour, for reasoning effectively, and in facilitating interactions with other people. Consequently, the ability to regulate the tone and intensity of emotions is important for leading a life of success and well-being. Intelligent computer perception of human emotions and effective expression of virtual emotions provide a basis for assisting emotion regulation with technology. State-of-the-art technologies already allow computers to recognize and imitate human social and emotional cues accurately and in great detail. For example, in the present work a regular looking office chair was used to covertly measure human body movement responses to artifical expressions of proximity and facial cues. In general, such artificial cues from visual agents were found to significantly affect heart, sweat gland, and facial muscle activities, as well as subjective experiences of emotion and attention. The perceptual and expressive capabilities were combined in a setup where a person regulated her or his more spontaneous reactions by either smiling or frowning voluntarily to a virtual humanlike character. These results highlight the potential of future emotion-sensitive technologies for creating supportive and even healthy interactions between humans and computers.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor Degree
Awarding Institution
  • Tampere University
  • Surakka, Veikko, Supervisor, External person
Award date9 Dec 2011
Place of PublicationTampere
Print ISBNs978-951-44-8612-8
Electronic ISBNs978-951-44-8639-5
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • emotion
  • sociality
  • affective computing
  • physiology
  • computer characters


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