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Big break acting game is a free app that focuses on developing understanding of emotions through focusing on facial expressions and tone of voice. The app is developed by neuroscientists and is specifically helpful for people on the autism spectrum, social communication difficulties and those experiencing difficulties with attention span. This app can help enhance the understanding of emotions by targeting imitation skills. It also helps to expand the conversation skills.
The app contains several emotions and multiple videos within each respective emotion. You can play the video multiple times, after which you get the turn to repeat the emotion and the dialogue. Once you are satisfied with your recording, the app processes how well you have imitated the video and provides instant feedback. After this, you are given the option to rate the severity of the emotions. This is a very important feature as many people with Autism may struggle to rate the severity of the emotions. Because the videos are dynamic in nature, they help to capture the diversity within the expression of same emotions, as opposed to the pictures in which there is limitation to show different severity levels of an emotion, for example anger. By the use of the videos and prompting the user to rate the severity of the emotions, concepts such as how the tone and the volume of the voice changes with severity of the emotions can also be explored.
Finally the user gets to save the movie towards the end of the level, which plays as a conversation between the default app videos and the user recorded videos. This is a very positive feature to develop listening skills, show how to keep the conversation on track and how to ask and answer questions and make comments.
What we think
The app was developed after research conducted at Ryerson University. It incorporates principles of emotional imitation and expression analysis.
Yes, the app has video instructions at the start which makes it easy to navigate through the app.
Yes, the app has four levels; Easy, Medium, Hard and Hardest. Initially the user is expected to only mimic the facial expressions, but as the levels advance, additional features are added for the user to imitate such as matching the appropriate loudness and tone of voice.
Yes, the app provides scores and tokens which can be used to unlock additional levels and features. It also provides positive feedback for trying regardless of the accuracy of the answer.
Anyone with imitation and verbal communication can use the app.
Although the app has different scenarios that can be used (Sci-fi, comedy etc) the default app characters cannot be customised further, possibly because the app uses recorded videos.
Yes, the app seems to provide a holistic view of emotions by focusing on body language such as tone and loudness of voice, facial expressions and how these are interlinked with each other.
By having more specific feedback as the feedback seems more generic.
Free to download and use.
Rates the severity of emotions.
Demonstrates how body language plays a role in identification of the emotion.
Promotes good listening skills
Promotes imitation skills.
Provides role modelling for conversation e.g. asking and answering questions, staying on topic, making comments etc.
Ability to save video.