MAS.630 Affective Computing Fall 2017

Room & Time:
Thursdays 2-4pm

Picard, R.W. (2000). Affective Computing. The MIT Press.
Calvo, R.A., D'Mello, S.K., Gratch, J., and Kappas, A. (2015). The Oxford Handbook of Affective Computing. Oxford University Press.
Other readings will be handed out as needed.

This term we will be using Piazza for class discussion. The system is highly catered to getting you help fast and efficiently from classmates, the TA, and myself. Rather than emailing questions to the teaching staff, I encourage you to post your questions on Piazza. If you have any problems or feedback for the developers, email
Find our class page at:

Class Schedule (Subject to Change):
1. Thursday Sep 7    Introduction to Affective Computing & The Challenge of Mood Measurement and Forecasting
2. Thursday Sep 14    Computers, robots, smartphones with emotional intelligence. HWK1 due.
3. Thursday Sep 21    Students each present on "2 or 3 Rough Project Ideas." HWK2 due.
4. Thursday Sep 28    Stress: How can technology help us better measure it and manage it? Guest presenters: Dr. Javier Hernandez and Ms. Asma Ghandeharioun; HWK3 due, which includes Project Proposal Plan.
5. Thursday Oct 5    First half = Affective Technology Interaction & Empathy; Second half = Student project progress presentations. HWK4 due.
6. Thursday Oct 12    First half = Student project progress present ations; Second half = How can we forecast Mood and Stress and help improve Mental Health? Guest presenters: Sara Taylor and Natasha Jaques HWK5 due.
7. Thursday Oct 19    Recognizing Emotional Context Guest presenter = Dr. Agata Lapedriza Garcia; Other topics TBA. (Media Lab Members Meeting Week; no HWK due)
8. Thursday Oct 26    What is the state of the art in facial affect recognition? Guest presenter = Dr. Oggi Rudovic; Highlights from ACII; HWK7 due.
9. Thursday Nov 2    Ethical issues related to emotion and AI. HWK8 due.
10. Thursday Nov 9    Project Progress Presentations & Discussion. HWK9 due.
11. Thursday Nov 16 Guest presenter = Dr. Oliver Saunders-Wilder - Measuring emotion and its physiology in social interaction
(Thursday Nov 23 = Happy Thanksgiving Holiday!)
12. Thursday Nov 30   Final Project Presentations - Attendance REQUIRED.
13. Thursday Dec 7   Final Project Presentations - Attendance REQUIRED. Celebration!

Sample Topics - Final topics will be selected with input from this year's class:
Emotionally Intelligent Human Computer Interaction
Emotion and Perception, Decision-making, and Creativity
Emotion and Learning
Physiology of Emotion
Neurological Mechanisms involved in Emotion
Affect Recognition by Wearables and other Machines
Communicating Frustration/Stress in Autism and in Customer Experience
Responding to User Emotion to Reduce User Frustration
Inducing Emotion
Robots/Agents that "have" Emotion
Emotion and Behavior
Expression of Emotion by Machines/Agents/Synthetic characters
Philosophical, Social, Ethical Implications of Affective Computing
Machine/Mobile Empathy and Emotional Support
Lie Detection and Stress Detection

20% Classroom participation
35% Weekly ssignments (reading/response)
45% Project and presentation

You will be required to complete a project for the course. You can do this solo or in a group of 2-3 people.
Thurs Sep 21: Present in class 2-3 initial project ideas and submit a very short description of each
Thurs Sep 28: Submit description of "the one" project idea with your team, with draft of its experiment design
Thurs Oct 5: Submit description of final project design/timetable/who will do what, background references, COUHES status
Thurs Oct 5 or 12: Present in class on Project Motivation/Background/Design, All descriptions of these are due by Oct 12, which is also the last day to get Prof. Picard your COUHES forms if you'd like her help with them.
Thurs Oct 19, Last day to get Linda Peterson/MAS sign off if you are doing COUHES through the Media Lab
Thurs Oct 26, Last day COUHES can accept your application for human subjects experiment

*** Attendance on project proposal and final project presentation days is REQUIRED ***
You will learn A LOT from engaging with each others' projects and it will be fun, so make sure to attend, not only for the "participation" grade.

2013 Project Examples, 2011 Project Examples, 2008 Project Examples, 2005 Project Examples.

COUHES for Class Projects:
All projects that involve research on human participants must have the prior approval of the MIT Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects (COUHES). If you can piggyback on a current COUHES protocol, that is fastest/easiest. If not, you need to MOVE FAST to submit a COUHES application because the fall COUHES meeting dates require applications to be in by either Sep 28 for approval by their meeting on Oct 19 or submitted by Oct 26 for their meeting on Nov 16.

If you are in the Media Lab, then Linda Peterson asks to sign off before COUHES sees it.

IMPORTANT, for everyone: before your COUHES application can be approved you must pass your "CITI certification"

If you've never done a COUHES application, you should start this more than two weeks before the deadline.

Please plan to meet w/Prof. Picard to brainstorm project ideas as soon as possible. She will have several office hour times before COUHES forms and project plans are due, and you can always book time with her assistant as well. Let's work together to help you have a positive experience and a successful project!