Automatic assessment and analysis of public speaking anxiety: A virtual audience case study

Torsten Wortwein, Louis-Philippe Morency, Stefan Scherer
2015 2015 International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII)  
Public speaking has become an integral part of many professions and is central to career building opportunities. Yet, public speaking anxiety is often referred to as the most common fear in everyday life and can hinder one's ability to speak in public severely. While virtual and real audiences have been successfully utilized to treat public speaking anxiety in the past, little work has been done on identifying behavioral characteristics of speakers suffering from anxiety. In this work, we focus
more » ... on the characterization of behavioral indicators and the automatic assessment of public speaking anxiety. We identify several indicators for public speaking anxiety, among them are less eye contact with the audience, reduced variability in the voice, and more pauses. We automatically assess the public speaking anxiety as reported by the speakers through a self-assessment questionnaire using a speaker independent paradigm. Our approach using ensemble trees achieves a high correlation between ground truth and our estimation (r=0.825). Complementary to automatic measures of anxiety, we are also interested in speakers' perceptual differences when interacting with a virtual audience based on their level of anxiety in order to improve and further the development of virtual audiences for the training of public speaking and the reduction of anxiety.
doi:10.1109/acii.2015.7344570 dblp:conf/acii/WortweinMS15 fatcat:wfel6jzcqfh6noh5x7hkdq43lu