Basement Talks

20th October from 1pm to 2pm

While we are still reflecting on our previous Basement Talk, two new speakers are already lined up for the next one. On Friday 20th October at 1pm we have the pleasure to welcome two assistant professors from the New Media Design program at Tilburg University: Alwin de Rooij and Katalin Bálint. Alwin will talk about the link between emotions and creativity, and the role of intelligent systems, while Katalin will present the results of an experimental study involving virtual reality, gaze behaviour and theory of mind. We hope to see you there!

WHERE: Designroom Mintlab (Parkstraat 45, 3000 Leuven)
WHEN: Friday 20th October 1pm – 2pm

It’s a free and public event, but please confirm your attendance via email to david.geerts[at] latest on 19th October.

Title: Hacking into the emotion-creativity link with intelligent systems

Positive emotion influences the ability of people to generate creative ideas. This provides an opportunity to design tools and technologies that help people to get more out of their own creative capabilities. In this talk we will discuss the first steps toward a novel technology that generates believable feedback about the originality of a person’s own ideas. We will discuss the results of two studies that show how this system can be used to influence the degree of positive emotion that is experienced, the expectations people have about their own creative capabilities, and subsequently the ability of its users to generate original creative ideas themselves.

Speaker bio

Alwin de Rooij studies creativity. He uses both scientific and artistic methods; where emerging technologies are used to study creativity in new ways; and from which he develops tools and technologies that augment human creative abilities. Alwin is currently an assistant professor at Tilburg University where he teaches at the New Media Design MSc program. He holds a PhD in creativity science from City University London, an MSc in Media Technology from Leiden University, and a BFA in autonomous art from the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague.

Social media

Twitter: @alwinderooij
Personal website:

Title: The effect of characters’ mutual gaze behavior on viewers’ theory of mind response

Authors: Katalin Bálint (speaker), Brendan Rooney, Thomas Parsons


Theory of mind (ToM) is the psychological process through which people recognize and understand mental states in others and the self. It is important in managing everyday interpersonal interactions, and it is also essential for viewers’ engagement with mediated characters. Previous research identified movie specific cues that effectively activate theory of mind responding, however our knowledge is still limited on how ToM can be elicited in a virtual reality context. In this talk I will present an experimental study where we manipulated the protagonist’s eye-gaze behavior (interactive mutual gaze vs no mutual gaze) and the engagement mode of viewers (story vs design oriented) and explored the effect on ToM responding.


Katalin E. Bálint researches viewers’ psychological responses to audio-visual media. She conducts empirical studies into how formal features, such as shot scale, cut rate, gaze behaviour of characters, influence empathy, theory of mind and narrative engagement in viewers. Katalin is currently an Assistant Professor at Tilburg University at the New Media Design MSc program, and a research associate at Radboud University Nijmegen, where she investigates the potentials of narrative health communication. She was a postdoc at Utrecht University (2012-2014) and University of Augsburg (2014-2016). Her background is in Psychology (BA, MA, PhD) and Film Studies (BA, MA).

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