Programme Leader in Animation and Illustration BA (Hons)
Senior Lecturer in Games and Creative Technologies
With interests in video games art and design, animation, illustration, character design, human computer interaction, cyberpsychology and research methods and practice, much of my research to date has centred on the Uncanny Valley phenomenon in realistic, human-like characters featured in animation and video games.
This includes how aspects of dynamic facial animation and speech may be manipulated to reduce the uncanny in empathetic, realistic human-like characters or exaggerate the uncanny to enhance the fear factor in characters intended for the horror genre. This research expands to issues of facial mimicry, mirror neuron activity (MNA), emotional contagion and attachment theory in humans, leading to a new standpoint as to the cause of the uncanny based on a perceived lack of empathy in a character. The research outcomes are not only applicable to characters featured in animation and video games, but also those featured in virtual simulations beyond the domain of entertainment, such as healthcare and education.
I also act as a reviewer for a number of journals and have been a committee member for IADIS conferences since 2010.
PhD thesis: ‘Viewer Perception of Facial Expression and Speech and the Uncanny Valley in Virtual Characters’. University of Bolton. Examined and accepted without revisions. Feb. 2009 – Feb. 2012.
Chris Bateman. Empirical and Theoretical Game Aesthetics, School of Games, Computing and IT, University of Bolton.
Tinwell, A. (in progress) The Uncanny Valley in Games and Animation. AK Peters Press (Part of Taylor and Francis Group)
Articles and chapters in edited books:
Tinwell, A., Grimshaw, M. and Abdel Nabi, D. (forthcoming, 2013) 'The Uncanny Valley and nonverbal communication in virtual characters’, in Tanenbaum, J., Seif El-Nasr, M. and Nixon, M. (eds.), Nonverbal Communication in Virtual Worlds, Pittsburgh, PA: ETC Press.
Tinwell, A. (forthcoming, 2013) ‘Applying psychological plausibility to the Uncanny Valley phenomenon’, in Grimshaw, M. (ed.) Oxford Handbook of Virtuality, Oxford: Oxford, University Press.
Tinwell, A., Grimshaw, M. and Williams, A. (2011) ‘Uncanny speech’, in Grimshaw, M. (ed.), Game Sound Technology and Player Interaction: Concepts and Developments, Hershey, PA: IGI Global, pp. 213-234.
Refereed articles in academic journals:
Tinwell, A. (in press) ‘3D graffiti: Virtuality to the streets’, Inopinatum. The unexpected impertinence of urban creativity Journal.
Tinwell, A., Grimshaw, M. and Abdel Nabi, D. (in press) ‘The effect of onset asynchrony in audio-visual speech and the Uncanny Valley in virtual characters’, International Journal of the Digital Human.
Tinwell, A., Abdel Nabi, D. & Charlton, J. (2013) 'Perception of psychopathy and the Uncanny Valley in virtual characters', Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 1617-1625.
Tinwell, A., Grimshaw, M., Williams, A. and Abdel Nabi, D. (2011) ‘Facial expression of emotion and perception of the Uncanny Valley in virtual characters’, Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 741-749.
Tinwell, A., Grimshaw, M. and Williams, A. (2011) ‘The Uncanny Wall’, International Journal of Arts and Technology, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 326-341.
Tinwell, A., Grimshaw, M. and Williams, A. (2010) ‘Uncanny behaviour in survival horror games’, Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 3-25.
Tinwell, A. (under review) ‘Game over? Assisting transition from FE to HE for games art students’, under review for the Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education journal .
Tinwell, A., Van Boxtel., A., Abdel Nabi, D. Sloan, R. and de Wied, M. (in progress) ‘Facial mimicry and perception of the Uncanny Valley in virtual characters’, Journal Article - Empirical Study.
Tinwell, A. (in progress) ‘The Effect of Thatcherism in Popular Culure’, Journal Article.
Refereed and published conference proceedings:
Tinwell, A., Grimshaw, M. and Abdel Nabi, D. (2011) ‘Effect of emotion and articulation of speech on the Uncanny Valley in virtual characters’, in Proceedings of the Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction 2011 Conference , Memphis, TN: USA, pp. 557–566.
Tinwell, A. and Grimshaw, M. (2009) ‘Bridging the uncanny: An impossible traverse?’, in Proceedings of 13th Int. MindTrek Conf.: Everyday Life in the Ubiquitous Era , Finland, pp. 66-73.
Tinwell, A. (2009) ‘The uncanny as usability obstacle’, in Proceedings of the Online Communities and Social Computing Workshop, HCI International 2009 , San Diego, USA, pp. 622-631.
Other refereed non-published conference contributions:
Tinwell, A., Abdel Nabi, D. and Charlton, J. (2012) ‘Viewer perception of pychopathic traits in uncanny characters’, presented at the Cyberpsychology and Computing Psychology Conference, University of Bolton.
Tinwell, A. (2012) ‘Research newbies: Introducing undergraduate students to HE level study’, presented at the Annual Learning and Teaching Staff Conference 2012, University of Bolton.
Tinwell, A., Abdel Nabi, D. and Sloan, R. (2012) ‘Facial mimicry to dynamic facial expressions of emotion and perception of the Uncanny Valley in virtual characters’, presented at the University of Bolton Research & Innovation Conference 2012, Bolton.
Tinwell, A., Abdel Nabi, D. and Sloan, R. (2012) ‘Uncanny worlds: Viewer perception of facial expression and the Uncanny Valley in virtual characters’, presented at the Virtual Worlds Research Network 2012 Conference, University of Edinburgh.
Tinwell, A. (2012) ‘Facial Mimicry and Perception of the Uncanny in Virtual Characters’, presented at the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance Affective (SICSA) Experiences in Computing Workshop, University of Abertay.
Tinwell, A. (2011) ‘A new perspective on the Uncanny Valley theory in virtual characters’, presented at the University of Bolton Research & Innovation Conference 2011, Bolton.
Tinwell, A. (2010) ‘A fearful face: Psychological and physiological response to the Uncanny Valley’, presented at the University of Bolton Research & Innovation Conference 2010, Bolton.
Siamuwele, K., Tinwell, A. and McLean, R. (2010) ‘What is new leisure? Attitudes to gambling, social networking and gaming in 18-24 year olds’, presented at the University of Bolton Research & Innovation Conference 2010, Bolton.
Tinwell, A. and Grimshaw, M. (2009) ‘Survival horror games - an uncanny modality’, presented at the Thinking After Dark Conference, Montreal, Canada.
Guest Speaker at the Psychology Visiting Speaker Seminar Series 2012-2013, Keele University (November, 2012).
Guest Speaker at the Otley Science Cafe, Otley Courthouse, Otley (September, 2012). ‘The Uncanny Valley and Human Character Interaction’.
Keynote speech at the Affective Experiences in Computing Workshop. University of Abertay, Dundee (February, 2012). ‘Facial Mimicry and Perception of the Uncanny in Virtual Characters’.
BBC2 ‘Prehistoric Autopsy’, television documentary: Academic consultant about my expertise and research on the Uncanny Valley phenomenon and human facial expression. Broadcast autumn 2012, BBC2.
BBC ‘One Show’ television programme: Filmed interview about the Uncanny Valley in video games and film. Broadcast May 1st 2012, BBC1.
BBC Radio interview for 'The Annie Othen Show': Interview about the adverse effect of 3D viewing in games and film. Broadcast May 4th 2012, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Radio.
Unheimlich manoeuvres in the race to make CGI real. By Chris Parr. The Times Higher Education. October 11, 2012. [online]
Facing up to a games challenge. By David Crookes. The Bolton News. September 11, 2012. [online]
Tintin and the Uncanny Valley: when CGI gets too real. By Steve Rose. The Guardian. October 28, 2011. [online]
Did the "Uncanny Valley" Kill Disney's CGI Company? By John Pavlus. Fast Company's Co.Design. April 5, 2011. [online]
On eLearning, Avatars, and the "Uncanny Valley". By Diane Rees. Instructional Design Fusions. February 9, 2011. [online]
Haunted Schoolyard: A Report on the Thinking After Dark Horror Game Conference. By Chris Pruett. Game Developer. June/July, 2009. [online]
Enterprise and Research Grants
The University of Bolton - Strategic Research Investment Fund Grant, £5,000, 29/04/09-31/07/09.
Greater Manchester Strategic Alliance – The BE-IT Project, £35,000, 01/07/08 – 31/12/08.
North West Learning Grid – National Certificate in Internet Communications and Technology (NCICT) online ICT Qualification Enterprise Project, £160,000, 1/7/06-1/7/08.
North West Learning Grid – Diploma in Digital Applications (DiDA) online ICT Qualification Enterprise Project, £68,000, 1/6/05-01/6/06.
Other Professional Activities
Reviewer and/or an external committee member for the following:
Reviewer for the Cognitive Infocommunications Journal of Knowledge-Based Systems (2013)
Reviewer for Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking (2010 – 2013).
Reviewer for the PLoS ONE Journal (2010).
Reviewer for Cognitively Informed Interfaces, published by IGI Global, 2012.
Reviewer for Nonverbal Communication in Virtual Worlds, published by ETC Press, 2012.
Reviewer for Moral Issues in Digital Game Play, published by Acco Academic, 2011.
Committee member and reviewer for the IADIS International Conference IHCI, 2011 - 2013.
Committee member and reviewer for the IADIS Game and Entertainment Technologies 2010 (GET 2010) Conference.
Served on the validation panel as examiner for the (HND) Police Studies at Bolton College, June 2012.
External examiner for an MSc viva in the subject area of cyberpsychology at the University of Buckingham, October 2012.
Event coordinator for Digital and Creative Futures 2011 in the School of Business and Creative Technologies at the University of Bolton.