Protoreportfinal

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Protoreportfinal

  1. 1. Christine Rosakranse Professor Jim Zappen Digital Rhetoric November 5, 2009 A U G M E N T I N G H U M A N C O M PA S S I O N V I A I N T E R A C T I V E D I G I TA L M E D I A Grounding While, historically, HCI literature has maintained a heavy focus on usability, functionality, and intuitive interfaces, newer threads of theory, such as Emotional Design (Norman, Bolter and Gromala) and Value Sensitive Design, have entered into the mainstream, effectively demonstrating implications for the user beyond the inherent rationale of any given system. This line of thought leads to two key elements that are of the utmost importance for augmenting human compassion. We find that several key approaches in cognitive psychology and HCI have led to both the scientific realization that change within a human mental architecture is possible and the discovery of the most probable mechanisms for such change.1 One of the forefathers for this direction of research is Douglas Engelbart. His paper entitled “Augmenting Human Intellect” revealed the necessity to use technology for increasing human intellectual potential in order to allow for more complex problem solving. Licklider and Ashby also 1Lutz A, Brefczynski-Lewis J, Johnstone T, Davidson RJ (2008) Regulation of the Neural Circuitry of Emotion by Compassion Meditation: Effects of Meditative Expertise. PLoS ONE 3(3): e1897. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001897
  2. 2. wrote extensively on this subject. More recently, Andy Clark writes of “Cognitive Hybridization.” Some technologies “constitute a cascade of mindware upgrades - cognitive upheavals in which the effective architecture on the human mind is altered and transformed.2 ” However, as technology does become more advanced, allowing for actual intellectual “amplification”, we must counter this with the augmentation of compassion as well in order to balance out the human equation. As it is now understood that certain emergent phenomena occur within the brain as well as effecting the outside world, we may expect to find a terrific potential for growth and mental evolution at the intersection of intellect and compassion. In order to fully appreciate the nature and magnitude of these possibilities, we must borrow from the lexicon of mathematics, specifically complex dynamics, and chemistry to allow for a more robust set of terms to describe intelligence and compassion augmentation. The initial step of determining terminology is key because any further study would require a sound grounding in what factors effect compassion levels and how they do so. Within the context of interactive digital media, these factors may be counter-intuitive or may include non-trivial emergent properties. Having a more exact vocabulary would undermine semantic ambiguity. 2 Clark, Andy “Natural-Born Cyborgs?” (2003), The New Humanists: science at the edge, (A Barnes and Noble Book: New York). (pgs. 67-78). ed. John Brockman.
  3. 3. Some of the difficulty in soundly defining the concepts relevant to compassion augmentation also stems from the family-only approach normally taken for the development of compassion in a child’s life. It is often seen as the responsibility of parents and families to engender this value. The exact nature of compassion is also nebulous enough within our society as a whole to defy easy definition. Definitions for compassion describe a semantic range of possibilities including awareness (purely knowledge), an emotion, or a feeling. Examples where the ambiguous language is most obvious include the chapter on “The Nature of Compassion” in the book Emotional Awareness, which is a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman.3 As Ekman and the Dalai Lama discuss how compassion may or may not be considered an emotion, the Dalai Lama explains, “Once the person experiences this heightened compassion, his or her compassion retains that kind of tone throughout the day, although the compassion itself may not remain as a ‘felt’ state of emotion. Still, whatever the person does is affected by that tone; in that sense, it resembles mood.” Ekman argues against this by explaining that moods are transitory and, therefore, compassion cannot be a mood or emotion. However, taking the neurological definition of mood 3Ekman, Paul, ed. (2008) Emotional Awareness: overcoming the obstacles to psychological balance and compassion: a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman. Henry Holt and Company: New York. pgs. 139-184.
  4. 4. and emotion into account, I would say that a new term is required for defining compassion in the sense of a long-term component of one’s mental state. One term that is used colloquially comes to mind: Nature. However, nature has the connotation of being unchangeable and fixed. For now, the term meta-mood will be used to describe compassion, in that it is a sustained perceptual filter that governs the overall level of compassion of an individual as well as the level of spontaneity and unbiasedness related to prosocial actions. Explanation of applicable theories and/or methods The role of science in the arena of art is only now coming to be realized due to the fact that it has been somewhat neglected in favor of more easily quantifiable phenomena. The nexus of science and art will forever be a fertile plane for conjecture, but, as the sphere of science grows to include room for what once seemed to be purely metaphysical concerns, additional theorizing and research will find ways to ground the effects of the arts within a scientifically meaningful vocabulary including the terms activation energy, emergence, agency, and meta-mood. The last term listed is my suggestion for defining compassion as a sustained mood (or meta- mood) associated with prosocial behavior (kindness, sympathy, etc.). The Grounded Theory approach with selective coding will provide the basis for the experimental design. With this approach we will use
  5. 5. observational analysis to create conceptual categories to define types of interaction with digital media as a first step to gradually refining and reevaluating these connections in a more formalized research setting. The elements of engagement that we will be testing can be placed into the following categories: 1) perceptual/cognitive 2) physiological 3) conscious or reflective interaction 4) emergent/transcendent Other segments of the testing will examine the components care and connectedness as related to compassion. Figure 1. Compassion is also seen as the result of care and connectedness.
  6. 6. Qualitative methods, such as open-ended questions, will be included to identify possible ideographic causal processes that lead to compassion development. Design concept The design concept will leverage the following: Figure 2. Compassion Augmentation Diagram These interactive art pieces were not originally designed in order to necessarily effect a user’s level of everyday compassion. However, this will
  7. 7. provide a broader basis for research. Two interactive digital pieces have been chosen to allow participants to answer questions with a comparison mentality. The space itself will also include a photo booth. The photos will be added to a Flickr group. This is included to provide a non-art piece of interaction for further comparison. The stimuli Ex 1. Fractal manipulation: Epimorphism by Gene Shuman, vibrant high precision simulated video feedback. Method of interaction: a fractal is projected on the 4 x 6 ft screen. The user uses a midi controller (slide interface) to alter variables in the algorithm, frequency, and color scheme of the projected fractal. Ex 2. “Platforms” by the Aphrodite Project, http://theaphroditeproject.tv/saftey/, a pair of Platform shoes with built-in GPS and an alarm system, designed to make participants aware of the dangers involved in the sex worker industry. Plan for assessment For the purposes of qualitative assessment, a questionnaire will be given to the participants after exposure to the interactive digital stimuli. It will involve three sections: Engagement, Positive and Negative Affect, and Open-Ended Questions. Section 1:
  8. 8. Section 2: This will include a version of the PANAS-X with the following specification: This scale consists of a number of words and phrases that describe different feelings and emotions. Read each item and then mark the appropriate answer in the space next to that word. Indicate to what extent you have felt this way while interacting with the digital media. Use the following scale to record your answers: 1 2 3 4 5 very slightly a little moderately quite a bit extremely or not at all ______ cheerful ______ sad ______ active ______ angry at self ______ disgusted ______ calm ______ guilty ______ enthusiastic ______ attentive ______ afraid ______ joyful ______ downhearted ______ bashful ______ tired ______ nervous ______ sheepish ______ sluggish ______ amazed ______ lonely ______ distressed ______ daring ______ shaky ______ sleepy ______ blameworthy ______ surprised ______ happy ______ excited ______ determined ______ strong ______ timid ______ hostile ______ frightened ______ scornful ______ alone ______ proud ______ astonished ______ relaxed ______ alert ______ jittery ______ interested ______ irritable ______ upset ______ lively ______ loathing ______ delighted ______ angry ______ ashamed ______ confident ______ inspired ______ bold ______ at ease ______ energetic ______ fearless ______ blue ______ scared ______ concentrating ______ disgusted ______ shy ______ drowsy ______ dissatisfied with self with self
  9. 9. Section 3: 1) Which of these projects had the greatest effect on you? Why? 2) Did these projects make you feel included in the creation process? 3) Did either of these projects make you feel connected to the artist? To people beyond the artist? 4) What could be changed to make you more interested and involved with the art? The proposed methods for investigation stem from the constituent components of engagement, listed previously. Each set of questions is designed to target certain areas. The first set of questions uses specific words to determine the level of perceived engagement from the participant. The PANAS-X questions help to reveal the physiological state of the participant as well as the conscious emotions. The open-ended questions serve to determine emergent properties of the interaction. Future research Additional elements and questions can be added in order to develop a more robust version of compassion augmentation. The last component may involve questions from the ABE (Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence) as
  10. 10. this approach may also prove relevant to the investigation. In their research, Peterson and Seligman find ways to measure a “person feeling oneness with the universe, a sense of truth, an inability to express experience in mere words, and a vividness and clarity of sensations and perceptions” 4. One of the personality characteristics that correspond with an appreciation of beauty includes an openness to new experiences. This also provides another direction for continuing research. With our current approach we will use observational analysis to create conceptual categories to define types of interaction with digital media as a first step to gradually refine and reevaluate these connections in a more formalized research setting. This will provide the basis for a CHI short paper (extended abstract). Future research includes testing the change in levels of compassion of those exposed to interactive digital media over time (designed with the results from this research in mind). We will also be able to research whether or not having a reflective component is necessary and whether or not effect is an issue of intensity versus duration. Peterson, C., & Seligman M. E. P. (2003). Values in action classification of strength. 4 Retrieved November 5, 2009, from http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/viamanualintro.pdf
  11. 11. Citations and bibliographic references: Brave, S., & Nass, C. (2007). Emotion in human-computer interaction. In Sears, A. & Jacko, J (Eds.). The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook: Fundamentals, Evolving Technologies and Emerging Applications, 2nd Edition. (pp. 77-92). Lawrence Erlbaum Buckner, Barbara. "Healing Interactions and Interactive Digital Art - News and Project Statement". Afterimage. FindArticles.com. 02 Oct, 2009. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2479/ is_3_29/ai_80757497/ Clark, Andy “Natural-Born Cyborgs?” (2003), The New Humanists: science at the edge, (A Barnes and Noble Book: New York). (pgs. 67-78). ed. John Brockman. Crawford, John R. and Julie D. Henry (2004). The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS): Construct validity, measurement properties and normative data in a large non-clinical sample. British Journal of Clinical Psychology (2004), 43, 245–265. (http://www.abdn.ac.uk/~psy086/ dept/pdfs/BJCP_2004_PANAS.pdf) Ekman, Paul, ed. (2008) Emotional Awareness: overcoming the obstacles to psychological balance and compassion: a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman. Henry Holt and Company: New York. pgs. 139-184. Fledman Barrett, L. & Russell. (1999). The structure of current affect: Controversies and emerging consensus. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 8(1), 10-14. Lutz A, Brefczynski-Lewis J, Johnstone T, Davidson RJ (2008) Regulation of the Neural Circuitry of Emotion by Compassion Meditation: Effects of Meditative Expertise. PLoS ONE 3(3): e1897. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001897 Peterson, C., & Seligman M. E. P. (2003). Values in action classification of strength. Retrieved November 5, 2009, from http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/viamanualintro.pdf

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