Backchannel Prediction for Mandarin Human-Computer Interaction

Xia MAO, Yiping PENG, Yuli XUE, Na LUO, Alberto ROVETTA
2015 IEICE transactions on information and systems  
In recent years, researchers have tried to create unhindered human-computer interaction by giving virtual agents human-like conversational skills. Predicting backchannel feedback for agent listeners has become a novel research hot-spot. The main goal of this paper is to identify appropriate features and methods for backchannel prediction in Mandarin conversations. Firstly, multimodal Mandarin conversations are recorded for the analysis of backchannel behaviors. In order to eliminate individual
more » ... iminate individual difference in the original face-to-face conversations, more backchannels from different listeners are gathered together. These data confirm that backchannels occurring in the speakers' pauses form a vast majority in Mandarin conversations. Both prosodic and visual features are used in backchannel prediction. Four types of models based on the speakers' pauses are built by using support vector machine classifiers. An evaluation of the pause-based prediction model has shown relatively high accuracy in consideration of the optional nature of backchannel feedback. Finally, the results of the subjective evaluation validate that the conversations performed between humans and virtual listeners using backchannels predicted by the proposed models is more unhindered compared to other backchannel prediction methods. key words: human-computer interaction, virtual agent, backchannel, Mandarin, support vector machine
doi:10.1587/transinf.2014edp7214 fatcat:q22zybpmpfbidkekfdyihhomv4