First Annual report and First experimental results

Scientific Progresses

During the first year, we have defined the protocol for the first experimental setting, which will represent the first stage of the proof-of-concept. The goal of the first experiment is to address a feasibility study of the annotation of a corpus of natural language arguments with emotions. The experiment involved a group of 20 participants, recruited by the Heron Lab. In particular, the first experiment has considered the following steps[1]:

  • Starting from an issue to be discussed provided by the animators, the aim of the experiment is to collect the arguments proposed by the participants
  • These arguments are then associated with the emotional component detected through apposite devices of the Heron Lab. More precisely, the workload/engagement emotional states and the facial emotions of the participants are extracted during the debate, using an EEG headset and a Face Emotion Recognition tool respectively.
  • In a post-processing phase on the collected data, we have synchronized the arguments put forward at instant t with the emotional indexes we retrieved.
  • The output of this post-processing phase (ongoing) will result in an argumentation graph representing each discussion addressed by the discussion groups. These argumentation graphs connect the arguments to each other by a support or an attack relation, and they will be labeled with the source that has proposed the argument, and the emotional state of the source itself and of the other participants at the time when the argument has been put on the table.


Fabien Gandon visited UQAM and UdM in July 2014 to:

  • Meet the three researchers involved in setting up capitation devices and choose the material and bases of the experiment.
  • Test the software for cognitive charge analysis.
  • Discuss the different options for the size of the groups and the number and combinations of devices available.

Claude Frasson visited Inria in June and August 2014 to:

  • Explain the devices and the tools available in the Heron Lab to detect emotions and discuss which ones better suit the needs of the SEEMPAD project.
  • Discuss the protocol of the first experimental setting and the practical organization of the experiment in the Heron Lab (participants’ recruitment, questionnaires to be filled in before and after the experiment, groups and turns).



The Inria team (Cabrio, Gandon, Villata) and the Heron team (Benlamine, Chaouachi, Frasson) had numerous video-conferences during this first year of the SEEMPAD project:

  • March 2014: presentation of the two teams and related research topic.
  • May 2014: definition of the first steps to be addressed in the project, decision about the goal of the first experiment.
  • June 2014: definition of a first draft of the protocol for the experimental setting.
  • July 2014: refinement of the experimental protocol.
  • August 2014: definition of the topics to be used for the debates in the experiment.
  • September 2014: discussion about the participants’ recruitment document and the post-experimental questionnaire.


Pre-experimental session

Before starting the first experiment, the two teams have simulated a first experimental session in order to verify the feasibility of the distributed experimental setting. This pre-experimental session has been done mid-October, 2014. The successful result has encouraged us to continue with the experiment.


Experimental sessions

Each experimental session involved 4 participants and two moderators. An experimental session consisted of 2 debates of about 20 minutes each, where the participants and the moderators debate together. We involved a total number of 20 participants for 12 debate topics. The experimental sessions have been scheduled from November 18th to November 25th, 2014.


No publication has been finalized yet but the first synchronized dataset is about to be available.