DUB Seminar will be conducted using Zoom, via an invitation distributed to the DUB mailing list. Participants who are logged into Zoom using a UW account will be directly admitted, and participants who are not logged in to a UW account will be admitted using a Zoom waiting room.
There will not be a publicly-available video of this DUB seminar.
Computational simulations such as videogames and virtual reality (VR) systems already pervasively attempt to represent aspects of human identity, including modeling race and ethnicity-related phenomena. However, existing strategies typically focus on representing racial and ethnic identity only as graphics-level customizations and often rely on racial stereotypes. Race and ethnicity are tied to social systems, histories, embodied experiences, interpersonal interactions, and discourse which cannot be reduced to solely graphical models. Furthermore, individuals within the same racial or ethnic groups may have a wide range of differences in their racial and ethnic socialization (RES) experiences, feelings of commitment and belonging to their group, racial ideologies, and how they perceive discriminatory racial encounters (DREs). It is critical to address the shortcomings of racial and ethnic identity representations in virtual systems because they have real-world consequences on human users (e.g., academic outcomes, social behavior, racial attitudes, healthcare outcomes). There are a lack of formal design approaches for creating compelling racial identity representations and models for use in computational simulations that address these shortcomings.
Passage Home is an interactive narrative videogame system that was developed through a design-based research collaboration with clinical and community psychology researchers who study racial discrimination and socialization in Black families to reduce racial stress and trauma. The system embeds a computational model informed by the Racial Encounter Coping Appraisal and Socialization Theory (RECAST) to simulate a DRE between a Black student and her white teacher. Using Passage Home, two user studies were conducted with 110 PreK-12 educators and 60 youth across the U.S. to understand the relationships between participants’ physical-world RES experiences, identity development, and attitudes and their experience and interpretations in the game. In this talk, Dr. Danielle M. Olson will present her work on a novel design framework for racial and ethnic identity representation in videogames and VR systems that she created through her research with Passage Home. The framework provides a new tool to aid practitioners in becoming more conscious of the RES practices they are using when developing racial and ethnic identity representations.
Dr. Danielle M. Olson is an AI/ML Human Factors Researcher at Apple based in Seattle, WA. She collaborates with technical and creative partners to inform how machine learning-powered products are built at Apple. She leads research to better understand the infinite ways human experiences with technologies can vary so that she can advocate for humans throughout the design and development process.
Prior to Apple, Dr. Olson earned her Doctoral (‘21), Masters (‘19), and Bachelors (‘14) degrees in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a graduate student at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), she was part of the human-computer interaction community of research and advised by Professor D. Fox Harrell, Ph.D., who directs the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality.
Outside of the academy, Danielle has previously worked as a Program Manager at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center (2014-2016), a VR Research Consultant for Mediate, a startup working at the intersection of computer vision and XR (2017-2018), and a Research Intern at Facebook Reality Labs conducting AR/VR and AI-related user experience research (2020).
Her doctoral thesis, which focused on novel approaches to representing racial and ethnic identity in immersive media systems, was awarded a 2021 Dimitris N. Chorafas Prize. Her graduate research work was supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, Ford Foundation Fellowship Program, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the International Chapter of the P.E.O., and the MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab.