Alessandro Vinciarelli


Social Signal Processing: Understanding Social Interactions Through Nonverbal Behavior Analysis

Social Signal Processing is the domain aimed at modelling, analysis and synthesis of nonverbal behaviour in social interactions. The core idea of the field is that nonverbal cues, the wide spectrum of nonverbal behaviours accompanying human-human and human-machine interactions (facial expressions, vocalisations, gestures, postures, etc.), are the physical, machine detectable evidence of social and psychological phenomena non otherwise accessible to observation. Analysing conversations in terms of nonverbal behavioural cues, whether this means turn-organization, prosody or voice quality, allows one to automatically detect and understand phenomena like conflict, roles, personality, quality of rapport, etc. In other words, analysing speech in terms of social signals allows one to build socially intelligent machines that sense the social landscape in the same way as people do. This talk provides an overview of the main principles of Social Signal Processing and some examples of their application.

Alessandro Vinciarelli is a Lecturer at the University of Glasgow (UK) and a Senior Researcher at the Idiap Research Institute (Switzerland). His main research interest is in Social Signal Processing, the domain aimed at modelling analysis and synthesis of nonverbal behaviour in social interactions. In particular, Alessandro has investigated approaches for role recognition in multiparty conversations, automatic personality perception from speech, and conflict analysis and measurement in competitive discussions. Overall, Alessandro has published more than 80 works, including one authored book, three edited volumes, and 22 journal papers. Alessandro has participated in the organization of the IEEE International Conference on Social Computing as a Program Chair in 2011 and as a General Chair in 2012, he has initiated and chaired a large number of international workshops, including the Social Signal Processing Workshop, the International Workshop on Socially Intelligence Surveillance and Monitoring, the International Workshop on Human Behaviour Understanding, the Workshop on Political Speech and the Workshop on Foundations of Social Signals. Furthermore, Alessandro is or has been Principal Investigator of several national and international projects, including a European Network of Excellence (the SSPNet,, an Indo-Swiss Joint Research Project ( and an individual project in the framework of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research IM2 ( Last, but not least, Alessandro is co-founder of Klewel (, a knowledge management company recognized with several awards.