Understanding Affective Touch for a Better VR Experience


The next BostonCHI meeting is Understanding Affective Touch for a Better VR Experience on Tue, Apr 13 at 6:15 PM.

Register here

BostonCHI April 2021, featuring Mounia Ziat


The replication of our world into virtual environments has been on our minds since as early as 1935, the year Stanley G. Weinbaum published “Pygmalion Spectacles.” On the one hand, we have never been closer to Weinbaum’s vision eighty-five years later. The technology progress related to head-mounted displays has been impressive and cutting edge. On the other hand, despite this technological advance, we are still far away from Weinbaum’s ultimate vision of an immersive world that not only includes all our five senses, but also provides us with emotional qualia begotten by the virtual experience. One obstacle that users face in recognizing emotional qualities is the lack of tangible interaction. Hence, there is a growing need to create new haptic technologies that enhance the user’s immersion. Yet, it is not enough to focus on only improving the quality of the mechanical stimulation; it is also crucial to understand how the haptic device could trigger emotions during the interaction.



Mounia Ziat is an Associate Professor at Bentley University. Relying on her multidisciplinary background, Dr. Ziat’s approach to science is holistic; her goals are to better understand perception and human interaction with the natural and artificial environment. For the last twenty years, she has been studying haptic perception by combining engineering, cognitive psychology, human-computer interaction (HCI), and neuroscience to understand all aspects of human touch. From the moment fingers contact a surface to the time information reaches the brain, her research focuses on making sense of sensations that lead to a stable perception of the world. Dr. Ziat holds an Electronic Engineering degree and a Master and Ph.D. in Cognitive Science.


Schedule – EST (UTC-5)

6:15 – 6:30: Networking (via Miro)

6:30 – 7:30: Presentation

7:30 – 8:00: Q & A