Recent work has shown the potential of basic perceptual properties of motion for notification, association and visual search. Yet evidence from fields as diverse as perceptual science, social psychology, and the performing arts suggests that motion has a much richer communication potential in its interpretative scope. A long history of research in the affective properties of motion has resulted in a bewildering plethora of potentially rich communicative attributes. However, we have little empirical evidence on how and whether these perceptual effects can be computationally manipulated in a display environment as variables of affective communication. In this research we explore how attributes of simple motion contribute to emotional interpretation. Our results show that even small abstract motions can reliably evoke affective interpretations given particular motion attributes. In particular, speed and trajectory strongly influence motion interpretation. These results have implications for the design of affective user interfaces and information visualizations.
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