Automated pattern analysis in gesture research : similarity measuring in 3D motion capture models of communicative action

Article

Schueller, D., Beecks, C., Hassani, M., Hinnell, J., Brenger, B., Seidl, T. & Mittelberg, I. (2017). Automated pattern analysis in gesture research : similarity measuring in 3D motion capture models of communicative action. Digital Humanities Quarterly, 11(2), 1-14. Read more: Medialink/Full text

Abstract

 

The question of how to model similarity between gestures plays an important role in current studies in the domain of human communication. Most research into recurrent patterns in co-verbal gestures – manual communicative movements emerging spontaneously during conversation – is driven by qualitative analyses relying on observational comparisons between gestures. Due to the fact that these kinds of gestures are not bound to well-formedness conditions, however, we propose a quantitative approach consisting of a distance-based similarity model for gestures recorded and represented in motion capture data streams. To this end, we model gestures by flexible feature representations, namely gesture signatures, which are then compared via signature-based distance functions such as the Earth Mover's Distance and the Signature Quadratic Form Distance. Experiments on real conversational motion capture data evidence the appropriateness of the proposed approaches in terms of their accuracy and efficiency. Our contribution to gesture similarity research and gesture data analysis allows for new quantitative methods of identifying patterns of gestural movements in human face-to-face interaction, i.e., in complex multimodal data sets.