with my freeze ray

I need to be an evil scientist in my next life.  There must be a way for me to harness my useless excitement over other people’s research.  Honestly, this kind of stuff thrills and tickles me: Biomotion Lab.  They study motion and what it communicates.  And my question is, “when will they start to study conductors?”  Because all we do is move and count on our ensembles to perceive stuff.  And it’s sooooo interesting what they might be getting from our movement that we don’t even intend.

I keep giggling and clapping like a pre-schooler watching Teletubbies.  Isn’t it COOL?!

Check out the fun Biomotion toys–er, demos.  My favorite is the BMLrating, where you can choose any attribute you want to measure (I chose “engagement”), then watch hundreds of examples and rank them (I ranked them from “disinterested” to “interested.”).  The computer then puts together the information and gives you a result where you can slide a scale to increase or decrease the attribute.  So it showed me a person walking, then I slid the bar over the scale to “interested” and the walker got faster, leaned more forward (and a bunch of other smaller, subtler changes that are hard to describe).  I slid the bar over to “disinterested” and the walker slowed and seemed to shift his weight back.  Awesome!

My ability to recognize sex was 62%, slightly below the world average of 65%.

I need a moment to giggle and clap some more.

The website says they’re goals are to study

  • detection of animate agents
  • conspecific recognition
  • gender recognition
  • individual recognition
  • recognition of an agent’s actions
  • recognition of emotions, personality traits and intentionality
  • face recognition

  • My interest is particularly in that penultimate one, of course.  Recognition of emotions, personality traits, and intentionalityWOW!  This is just walking, of course, but it’s got to have ramifications into more elaborate gesture, too.  Doesn’t it?  Also, is there correlation between weight and mood or sex and energy level?  Does a feminine motion look more relaxed?  I don’t know!  But I’m glad someone is trying to measure this stuff.

    Science and art!!!  We will stop… The world.

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    3 Responses to with my freeze ray

    1. Glad you approve 🙂 Troje does this stuff really well, and with exceptional care and precision. Doing this carefully with a movement like conducting would be hard, but I doubt impossible. Recording the movements from an actual person is straight forward, but then creating the carefully controlled versions a la the BioMotion lab stimuli would be harder. There are certainly techniques that could be applied.This is where information lives – movement. Fun, isn't it 🙂

    2. Wait, you're at UConn? Damn, go talk to people at CESPA: http://ione.psy.uconn.edu/. I'm not sure anyone there is doing biological motion perception, but they do perception and action from an ecological perspective and so they'll certainly know the literature.Drop me an email if you want, I can hook you up with a lot of material on perception that I think you'll like. Emily has my work address.

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