Laughter and Tickles: Toward Novel Approaches for Emotion and Behavior Elicitation


Considerable effort has been invested in the development of effective emotion and behavior recognition techniques. In comparison, little work has been devoted to technologies that can be used to induce specific emotional and behavioral responses, with most such research relying on the presentation of video or images. In this article, we propose a novel technique for the elicitation of emotion based on audio-tactile stimulation. Taking advantage of the relationship between tickling, laughter and emotional states, we conducted an experiment to map the perception of the tickle sensation as a function of vibrotactile stimulation frequency, quantify the effect of hearing laughter stimulus on the perceived intensity of the tactile experience, and assess the potential of the proposed multimodal approach to induce observable mirthful responses. Experimental evidence shows that the perceived intensity of the auditory laughter stimulus has a repeatable scaling effect on the tickle sensation and that the proposed audio-tactile stimulation is a promising approach to laughter elicitation. These findings may inform the design of future multimodal affective interfaces by allowing a more informed prediction of induced emotional and behavioral responses.

IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing