University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign computer scientist Karrie Karahalios has developed a technique to digitize conversations and represent them as images, which enables people to "see" their own conversations on computer monitors. Karahalios says the technique provides real-time feedback and can act as a social mirror, allowing people to observe and adjust their own conversations.
The computer program, which Karahalios calls a "conversation clock," presents conversations on a computer terminal as vibrant colors. The colors expand if a voice is talking loudly and overlap when multiple people are talking at the same time. The program has been tested with low-functioning autistic children and in marriage counseling.
These individuals at the University of Illinois are using the"Conversation Clock." Each colored ring shows whether oneperson is dominating the conversation or whether they aretaking turns. Each voice appears on a computer terminal as a vibrant color. The image grows in size if the voice gets louder, overlaps with another color if it is interrupting, or abruptly narrows with silence. Reuters / Tony Bergstrom / University of Illinois
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