Project Leader Gale Lucas

The US Armed Services, including the US Army, spends a significant amount of money and effort customizing virtual environments for new physical locations. While this might be essential for mission planning activities, it may not be needed for training applications such as navigation or wayfinding, training of interpersonal skills, negotiation, etc. The project addresses this by systematically studying the impact of virtual environments (e.g., base vs. field, rural vs. urban, etc.) on responses during training and/or simulation (e.g., training outcomes, stress, impressions of virtual human characters in the environment, etc.), potentially saving money and effort by helping the Army to avoid customizing virtual environments for new locations when its not necessary. It tests how design factors (e.g., social cues given by virtual humans, presence of virtual humans across task/context, etc.) and techniques (e.g., sensing of facial, emotional displays) in affective computing can be used to facilitate teaming relationships in virtual contexts.

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