We explore the extent to which empathetic reactions are elicited when subjects view 3D motion-capture driven avatar faces compared to viewing human faces. Through a remote study, we captured subjects’ facial reactions when viewing avatar and humans faces, and elicited self reported feedback regarding empathy. Avatar faces varied by gender and realism. Results show no sign of facial mimicry; only mimicking of slight facial movements with no solid consistency. Participants tended to empathize with avatars when they could adequately identify the stimulus’ emotion. As avatar realism increased, it negatively impacted the subjects’ feelings towards the stimuli.


This study employs Facial Expression Analysis, which is fully integrated into the iMotions software suite. To learn more please visit our dedicated product page, or download our complete guide on FEA below:

Facial Expression Analysis FEA