Senior Lecturer in Research and Graduate School

Researcher in Games and Creative Technologies

With interests in video games art and design, animation, character design, androids, human computer interaction, cyberpsychology and research methods and practice, much of my research to date has centred on the Uncanny Valley phenomenon in human-like synthetic agents.

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 psychopathy, 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:

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.

PhD Supervision as Director of Studies:

Chris Bateman. Empirical and Theoretical Game Aesthetics, School of Games, Computing and IT, University of Bolton, (completed, 2014).

PhD Supervision as Second Supervisor:

Rebecca Mayhew. Emergent Gameplay and Meaning Construction in Digital Games: Differences between Adults and Children, School of Games, Computing and IT, University of Bolton, (in progress).

Publications

Books:

Tinwell, A. (2014) The Uncanny Valley in Games and Animation. CRC Press, Boca Raton: FL.

Articles and chapters in edited books:

Tinwell, A., Grimshaw, M. and Abdel Nabi, D. (2014) '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, pp. 325-342.

Tinwell, A. (2014) ‘Applying psychological plausibility to the Uncanny Valley phenomenon’, in Grimshaw, M. (ed.) Oxford Handbook of Virtuality, Oxford: Oxford, University Press, pp. 173-186.

Tinwell, A. (2013) ‘3D graffiti: Virtuality to the streets’,  in Borriello, L. & Ruggiero, C. (eds) Inopinatum: Urban Creativity. Rome:  Artigrafiche Bocchia, pp. 119 - 213.

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.
This book chapter was accepted with no changes from the Reviewers.

Refereed articles in academic journals:

Tinwell, A. (2015) 'Is the Uncanny Valley a Universal or Individual Response?' Interaction Studies, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 180-185.

Tinwell, A. and Sloan, R. J. S. (2014) ‘Children's Perception of Uncanny Human-Like Virtual Characters’, Computers in Human Behaviour, vol. 36, pp. 286-296.

Tinwell, A., Grimshaw, M. and Abdel Nabi, D. (2015) ‘The effect of onset asynchrony in audio-visual speech and the Uncanny Valley in virtual characters’, International Journal of Mechanisms and Robotic Systems, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 97-110.

Tinwell, A. (2014) ‘The Effect of Thatcherism in Popular Culture’, Journal of European Popular Culture, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 123-138
This journal paper was accepted with no changes from the Reviewers.

Tinwell, A. (2013) ‘Game over? Assisting transition from FE to HE for games art students’, Journal of Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 121 - 133.

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.
This journal paper was accepted with no changes from the Reviewers.

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. and Cheetham, M. (in progress) Physiognomic Markers as Theory of Mind in Human-Like Synthetic Agents.

Tinwell, A. (under review) ‘Perception of a False Smile in BOTOX Users and Human-Like Virtual Characters’, Journal Article - Empirical Study.

Tinwell, A. and Grossman, R. (in progress) 'Autism and perception of uncanny human-like virtual characters'. Journal article: Empirical study. 

Tinwell, A. (in progress) Self -Esteem and Perception of Self in Android Design.

Refereed and published conference proceedings:

Buck, S. Grossman, R. and Tinwell, A. (2015) 'Emotion Recognition of Dynamic Computer Generated and Human Faces: An Eye-Tracking Study', Poster presented at the American Speech Language Hearing Association Conference, Denver, Colorado, November 12-14, 2015.

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:

Allison, C. and Tinwell, A. (2014) 'The effect of live briefs on undergraduate graphic design student's motivation and performance, presented at the University of Bolton Research & Innovation Conference 2014, Bolton.

Tinwell, A.(2014) ‘Children's Perception of Uncanny Human-Like Virtual Characters’, presented at the University of Bolton Research & Innovation Conference 2014, Bolton.

Tinwell, A.(2013) ‘3D graffiti: Virtuality to the streets’, presented at the University of Bolton Research & Innovation Conference 2013, Bolton.

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

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.

Invited Presentations

Guest Speaker at Motion Perception Event, British Science Museum (January, 2014).

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’.

Press Coverage and Interviews about my Research

Television

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.

Radio

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.

Newspaper/ Articles

Data Doppelgangers and the Uncanny Valley of Personalization. By Sara Watson. The Atlantic. June 16,  2014. [online]

Onward-and-Upward-with-the-Arts-Pixel-Perfect. By Margaret Talbot. The New Yorker. April 28,  2014.

Why do we Love R2-D2 and nor C-3PO? By Clive Thompson. Smithsonian Magazine. May,  2014. [online]

How Virtual Reality Overcame its Puke Problem. By Colin Barras. BBC Worldwide Online. March 27, 2014. [online]

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:

Journals

Reviewer for Journal of Cognitive Computation (2014 to date)

Reviewer for Journal of Scientific Research and Essays (2013)

Reviewer for the IEEE 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).

Book Chapters

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

Committee member and reviewer for the IADIS Game and Entertainment Technologies (GET) Conference, 2010 - 2014.

Committee member and reviewer for the IADIS International Conference IHCI, 2011 - 2013.

Examiner

External Examiner for Nicholas Hampton's PhD thesis, “The Uncanny Valley and the Realistic, Human-Looking Videogame Character”, at University of Wales, Swansea, 2014. 

External Examiner for Tanya Govier's Psychology MSc thesis, “Is there a relationship between identity consolidation and internet use?”, at the University of Buckingham, 2012.

Examiner for the validation of the Master of Business Administration Graduate (MBA), Bolton Business School, Bolton University, 2013.

Examiner for the validation of the (HND) Police Studies at Bolton College, 2012.

Event Organisation

Event coordinator for Digital and Creative Futures 2011 in the School of Business and Creative Technologies at the University of Bolton.