Mirror Ritual: an affective interface for emotional self-reflection

Nina Rajcic, Jon McCormack

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


This paper introduces a new form of real-time affective interface that engages the user in a process of conceptualisation of their emotional state. Inspired by Barrett’s Theory of Constructed Emotion, ‘Mirror Ritual’ aims to expand upon the user’s accessible emotion concepts, and to ultimately provoke emotional reflection and regulation. The interface uses classified emotions – obtained through facial expression recognition – as a basis for dynamically generating poetry. The perceived
emotion is used to seed a poetry generation system based on OpenAI’s GPT-2 model, fine-tuned on a specially curated corpus. We evaluate the device’s ability to foster a personalised, meaningful experience for individual users over a sustained
period. A qualitative analysis revealed that participants were able to affectively engage with the mirror, with each participant developing a unique interpretation of its poetry in the context of their own emotional landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
EditorsJoanna McGrenere, Andy Cockburn
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450367080
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2020 - Honolulu , United States of America
Duration: 25 Apr 202030 Apr 2020
Conference number: 38th
https://chi2020.acm.org (Website)
https://dl.acm.org/doi/proceedings/10.1145/3313831 (Proceedings)


ConferenceInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2020
Abbreviated titleCHI 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Internet address


  • Affective computing
  • affective interface
  • theory of constructed emotion
  • computational creativity
  • emotion
  • poetry
  • generative networks

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