Prediction of communication effectiveness during media skills training using commercial automatic non-verbal recognition systems

Pereira, Monica, Meng, Hongying and Hone, Kate (2021) Prediction of communication effectiveness during media skills training using commercial automatic non-verbal recognition systems. Frontiers in Psychology, 12 (675721). pp. 1-16. ISSN 1664-1078


It is well recognised that social signals play an important role in communication effectiveness. Observation of videos to understand non-verbal behaviour is time-consuming and limits the potential to incorporate detailed and accurate feedback of this behaviour in practical applications such as communication skills training or performance evaluation. The aim of the current research is twofold: (1) to investigate whether off-the-shelf emotion recognition technology can detect social signals in media interviews and (2) to identify which combinations of social signals are most promising for evaluating trainees' performance in a media interview. To investigate this, non-verbal signals were automatically recognised from practice on-camera media interviews conducted within a media training setting with a sample size of 34. Automated non-verbal signal detection consists of multimodal features including facial expression, hand gestures, vocal behaviour and 'honest' signals. The on-camera interviews were categorised into effective and poor communication exemplars based on communication skills ratings provided by trainers and neutral observers which served as a ground truth. A correlation-based feature selection method was used to select signals associated with performance. To assess the accuracy of the selected features, a number of machine learning classification techniques were used. Naive Bayes analysis produced the best results with an F-measure of 0.76 and prediction accuracy of 78%. Results revealed that a combination of body movements, hand movements and facial expression are relevant for establishing communication effectiveness in the context of media interviews. The results of the current study have implications for the automatic evaluation of media interviews with a number of potential application areas including enhancing communication training including current media skills training. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2021 Pereira, Meng and Hone.]

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