Reuters top ten news stories delivered to your inbox each day.
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
Talking in color: imaging helps social skills
Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:31pm EDT
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
By David Lawsky
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Karrie Karahalios can show a child with Asperger's Syndrome when he's lost in a conversational riff or a taciturn spouse when he doesn't speak very much.
Their voice appears on a computer terminal as vibrant colors -- red, yellow, blue, green -- the image growing in size if the voice gets louder, overlapping another color as it interrupts or abruptly narrowing with silence.
They are talking in color.
Karahalios, a computer scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has devised a way to digitize conversations and spit them back as images that let people "see" their own conversations on computer monitors.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology-trained professor says her method provides feedback in real time and can act as a type of social mirror, allowing people to adjust their speech in the same way they adjust their appearance before a glass mirror.
"You look into a mirror and you change your dress, your expression, because you see exactly how it's happening in real time," she said.
The colors linger so people can see the progression of an entire conversation, not only the present moment.
The computer program, which she calls a "conversation clock," has been tested with low-functioning autistic children and in marriage counseling and is being prepared for use with Asperger's Syndrome.
People with that disorder, at the high end of the autism spectrum, often have sophisticated vocabularies but troubled social interactions.
"Kids with Asperger's tend to do 'monologuing' and 'lecturing'" without letting others intervene," said Maria Dixon, a clinical instructor in hearing and speech at the University of Maryland.
"The challenge is to get them visual feedback while this is happening."
The experiment will use the conversation clock program with two children sitting across from each other at a table.
It will show if children with Asperger's do what other users of the clock tend to do -- change their conversational patterns to balance the colors that appear on the computer screen. That would put an end to monologuing, at least during the experiment.
"My older son is fascinated, because he thinks this could really help him," said psycholinguist Sara Weyland, Dixon's colleague and the mother of two children with Asperger's.
Karahalios' team has prepared for a year and will run the study this summer at the College Park, Maryland, campus. Continued...
View article on single page
E-books open new chapter for LCD makers
Also On Reuters
Commentary: Have we turned the corner?
Video: Can beer withstand the economic downturn?
Slideshow: Highlights from the NCAA tournament
More Technology News
Computer experts brace for "Conficker" worm
Facebook CFO to leave company
HP says pondering Google's Android
Samsung unveils Mondi WiMax device for Clearwire
E-books open new chapter for LCD makers
More Technology News...
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Slideshow
Most Popular on Reuters
Obama to Automakers: It's My Way or the Highway
Miss Universe says had "lot of fun" in Guantanamo
U.S. unveils Orion spacecraft to take crew to Mars
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly boycotting Sean Penn films
NASA in Colbert conundrum over Space Station
WRAPUP 1-Record drop in home prices keeps US consumers glum
Obama team drops "war on terror" rhetoric
U.S. recession easing but no bottom yet
GM sees bankruptcy risk | Video
UPDATE 5-Pistachios recalled in U.S. due to salmonella risk
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
Loincloths hot among Japan woman
Illusionist floats in mid-air
Taliban claim Lahore raid
Madonna in Malawi court
Bike with ten-cornered wheels
Pizza vending machine
Beer still recession proof?
Obama hits the brakes on autos
And Finally Village for Sale
Business Update: Wall St. slumps
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
The global destination for corporate leaders, deal-makers and innovators
Knowledge to Act
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Interactive TV |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.