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MIT Media Lab: Affective Computing

Please see this FAQ before emailing us your questions.

Affective Computing is computing that relates to, arises from, or deliberately influences emotion or other affective phenomena (Picard, MIT Press 1997).

Emotion is fundamental to human experience, influencing cognition, perception, and everyday tasks such as learning, communication, and even rational decision-making. However, technologists have largely ignored emotion and created an often frustrating experience for people, in part because affect has been misunderstood and hard to measure. Our research develops new technologies and theories that advance basic understanding of affect and its role in human experience. We aim to restore a proper balance between emotion and cognition in the design of technologies for addressing human needs.

Our research has contributed to: (1) Designing new ways for people to communicate affective-cognitive states, especially through creation of novel wearable sensors and new machine learning algorithms that jointly analyze multimodal channels of information; (2) Creating new techniques to assess frustration, stress, and mood indirectly, through natural interaction and conversation; (3) Showing how computers can be more emotionally intelligent, especially responding to a person's frustration in a way that reduces negative feelings; (4) Inventing personal technologies for improving self-awareness of affective state and its selective communication to others; (5) Increasing understanding of how affect influences personal health; and (6) Pioneering studies examining ethical issues in affective computing.

Affective Computing research combines engineering and computer science with psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, sociology, education, psychophysiology, value-centered design, ethics, and more. We bring together individuals with a diversity of technical, artistic, and human abilities in a collaborative spirit to push the boundaries of what can be achieved to improve human affective experience with technology.

We encourage you to look at Current and Past Projects for examples of Affective Computing research.

Please see this FAQ before emailing us your questions.

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