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Workshop: Meaning in Context: Pragmatic Communication in Humans and Machines

Context in Automated Affect Recognition

Matt Groh · Rosalind Picard


Affect recognition depends on interpreting both expressions and their associated context. While expressions can be explicitly measured with sensor technologies, the role of context is more difficult to measure because context is often left undefined. In an effort to explicitly incorporate pragmatics in automated affect recognition, we develop a framework for categorizing context. Building upon ontologies in affective science and symbolic artificial intelligence, we highlight seven key categories: ambient sensory environment, methods of measurement, semantic representation, situational constraints, temporal dynamics, sociocultural dimensions, and personalization. In this short paper, we focus on how the epistemological categories of context influence the training and evaluation of machine learning models for affect recognition. Incorporating context in the practical and theoretical development of affect recognition models is an important step to developing more precise and accurate models.