Document Type



Electrical Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Armando Barreto

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Malek Adjouadi

Third Advisor's Name

Jean Andrain

Fourth Advisor's Name

Wei-Chiang Lin


Pupil Diameter, Adaptive Interference Canceller, H-Infinity Time-Varying Adaptive Algorithm, Pupillary Affective Response, Pupillary Light Reflex, Support Vector Machine, Receiver Operating Characteristic, Affective Computing, Affective Sensing

Date of Defense



Recent research has indicated that the pupil diameter (PD) in humans varies with their affective states. However, this signal has not been fully investigated for affective sensing purposes in human-computer interaction systems. This may be due to the dominant separate effect of the pupillary light reflex (PLR), which shrinks the pupil when light intensity increases. In this dissertation, an adaptive interference canceller (AIC) system using the H∞ time-varying (HITV) adaptive algorithm was developed to minimize the impact of the PLR on the measured pupil diameter signal. The modified pupil diameter (MPD) signal, obtained from the AIC was expected to reflect primarily the pupillary affective responses (PAR) of the subject. Additional manipulations of the AIC output resulted in a processed MPD (PMPD) signal, from which a classification feature, PMPDmean, was extracted. This feature was used to train and test a support vector machine (SVM), for the identification of stress states in the subject from whom the pupil diameter signal was recorded, achieving an accuracy rate of 77.78%. The advantages of affective recognition through the PD signal were verified by comparatively investigating the classification of stress and relaxation states through features derived from the simultaneously recorded galvanic skin response (GSR) and blood volume pulse (BVP) signals, with and without the PD feature. The discriminating potential of each individual feature extracted from GSR, BVP and PD was studied by analysis of its receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. The ROC curve found for the PMPDmean feature encompassed the largest area (0.8546) of all the single-feature ROCs investigated. The encouraging results seen in affective sensing based on pupil diameter monitoring were obtained in spite of intermittent illumination increases purposely introduced during the experiments. Therefore, these results confirmed the benefits of using the AIC implementation with the HITV adaptive algorithm to isolate the PAR and the potential of using PD monitoring to sense the evolving affective states of a computer user.





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