A Rumor of Empathy at Affectiva Software

April 8, 2015
Hosted by Lou Agosta

[Download MP3] [itunes] [Bookmark Episode]

Guest Information


[View Guest Page >]

Episode Description

Join Lou Agosta for a conversation with Dan McDuff (http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~djmcduff), Principal Scientist at Affectiva (www.affectiva.com), a software company that is transforming our understanding of the expression of emotions in the human face. The human face is an emotional “hot spot”. New-born babies seem to gravitate spontaneously towards the face of the caretaker. The face forms a total configuration that manifests a person’s humanity in a way especially engaging to another person. We humans seem to be hard-wired to interact with faces as the location for emotional expression – and the lack of expression. Innovations in machine vision and pattern recognition are advancing the automated understanding of the expression of human emotions. Affectiva was founded in 2009 by Rana el Kaliouby and Rosalind W. Picard, scientists at the MIT Media Lab. Listeners will have an opportunity to phone in with questions for Dan and Lou about understanding the emotions.

A Rumor of Empathy

A Rumor of Empathy

Archives Available on VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel

A Rumor of Empathy is committed to providing a gracious and generous listening, empathy, in conversation with its guests and listeners. Join the host in chasing down and confirming or debunking an unsubstantiated report of empathy in the community and engaging in an on the air conversation in transforming human struggle and suffering into meaningful relationships, satisfying results and contribution to the community. When one is really listened to empathically and heard in one’s struggle and effort, then something shifts. Possibilities open up that were hidden in plain view. Action that makes a difference occurs so that empathy becomes less of a rumor and an expanded reality in your life and in the community. When all the philosophical arguments and psychological back-and-forth are over and done, in empathy, one is quite simply in the presence of another human being. Join Lou for an empowering conversation in which empathy is made present.

  • Snag
  • ecard
  • Bookmark and Share
Lou Agosta

Lou Agosta

Lou Agosta’s commitment is to provide a gracious and generous listening empathy, in conversation with his guests on the show and the empathy consulting and psychotherapy work he performs with individual and corporate clients. Graduating as an unemployed philosopher from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. on Empathy and Interpretation, Lou trained in data management technology and consulted in technology with Blue Cross of Illinois, Greenbrier and Russel, Giga Information Group, and IBM before realizing that the world does not need more data, the world needs expanded empathy. After undergoing over ten years of psychoanalyses, dynamic psychotherapy, and related training to recover from childhood and adolescent traumas, Lou teaches empathy in the history and systems of psychology at Argosy University. He is the author of three books on empathy from Palgrave Macmillan including A Rumor of Empathy: Resistance, Narrative, and Recovery, forthcoming from Routledge. Lou says that when all the philosophical arguments and psychological labels are over and done, in empathy, a person is quite simply in the presence of another human being. Join Lou and be present for an empowering conversation in which empathy is made present and makes a difference.

  • Snag
  • ecard
  • Bookmark and Share

Episode Directory

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

Michael Boylan



Michael Boylan is a thought leader in philosophy, ethics, and political engagement in the best sense of the words. He is also a story teller and writer. A philosopher in his own right, professor and chair of the philosophy department at Marymount University in Arlington Virgina, Michael is committed to translating dense distinctions into language that is accessible to and useable by you and me as everyday persons. He has 26 published books and more than 120 published articles. He has lectured in eleven countries and has been the subject of a book of essays. Boylan’s publications include Philosophy: An Innovative Introduction – Fictive Narrative, Primary texts and Responsive Writing with Charles Johnson (2010) and Morality and Global Justice: Justifications and Applications (2011) and the books we will be discussing today, Natural Human Rights and Rainbow View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Jonathan Brent


Jonathan Brent is the Executive Director of The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City. From 1991 to 2009 he was Editorial Director and Associate Director of Yale Press. He is the founder of the world acclaimed Annals of Communism series, which he established at Yale Press in 1991. Brent is the co-author of Stalin’s Last Crime: The Plot Against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953 (Harper-Collins, 2003) and Inside the Stalin Archives (Atlas Books, 2008). He is now working on a biography of the Soviet-Jewish writer Isaac Babel. Brent teaches history and literature at Bard College. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Alice Dreger



Alice Dreger is a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the author of Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex and One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal. Her work has been discussed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Science and on CNN, and her op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. She has appeared as a guest expert on Oprah, Savage Love, Good Morning America, and NPR. Her TED talk, “Is Anatomy Destiny?,” has been viewed more than 850,000 times. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

James Garbarino, Ph.D.



James Garbarino, Ph.D. was the Founding Director of the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University of Chicago. He ahs served as an adviser to the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, the National Institute for Mental Health, the US Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, and the FBI. He holds the Maude C. Clarke Chair in Humanistic Psychology at Loyola University. He is the author of Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We can Save Them. In early 2015 he has published Listening to Killers: Lessons Learned from MY 20 Years as a Psychological Expert Witness in Murder Cases (University of California Press). View Guest page

Episode Listing:

David Howe



Dr David Howe is Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. David was born and brought up in Manchester, England. In 1968 he graduated with a BSc in Geology and Chemistry from the University of Durham, England. A short spell of teaching sciences in London was followed by a career change into social work, specialising in child and family social work which included dealing with cases of child abuse and neglect, adoption and foster care. An interest in research and teaching allowed David to move into an academic social work post at the University of East Anglia. His research and writing have been in social work theory, emotional development, empathy, developmental attachment theory, and child abuse and neglect. He is the author of many papers as well as 20 books, his most recent being Child Abuse and Neglect: attachment, development and intervention (2005), The Emotionally Intelligent Social Worker (2008), A Brief Introduction to Social Work Theory (2009), Attachment Across the Lifecourse: A brief introduction (2011), Empathy: what it is and why it matters (2012), and The Compleat Social Worker (2014). David takes time to indulge his love of walking in the hills, along coasts and on beaches, sometimes on his own, sometimes with friends, and sometimes with children and grandchildren." View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Dan McDuff



Daniel McDuff received his Ph.D. from the MIT Media Lab while working in the Affective Computing group. McDuff received his bachelor's degree, with first-class honors, and master's degree in engineering from the University of Cambridge. Prior to joining the Media Lab, he worked for the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) in the United Kingdom. He is interested in using computer vision, wearable sensors and machine learning to enable the automated recognition of affect. He is also interested in technologies and interfaces for remote measurement of physiology for which his work has received an award from Popular Science magazine as one of the top inventions in 2011. "My research is at the intersection of emotion and computer science. I am interested in sensors and algorithms that can recognize human affect and in building technologies that make life better. " View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Dale G. Monroe-Cook, Ph.D.



Dr. Monroe-Cook earned his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University in 1979, completing specialized training in family therapy through the Family Life Clinic there. He has extensive clinical and administrative experience in the treatment of substance abuse and dual diagnosis disorders, including functioning as Chief of Family Services for the substance abuse program at Martha Washington Hospital and as the Director of Substance Abuse Services at Four Winds Chicago. Throughout his career, he has maintained a commitment to the development and implementation of integrative models of treatment for individuals and families with concerns regarding addictive behaviors. As VP of Clinical Operations at Yellowbrick, Dr. Monroe-Cook functions as Chief Clinical Officer and is responsible for development and implementation of the comprehensive Family Model and the Parents as Partners Program. Dr. Monroe-Cook is the father of an emerging adult son and daughter. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Joseph Palombo


Joseph Palombo is the Founding Dean of the Institute for Clinical Social Work and the Director of its Joseph Palombo Center for Neuroscience and Psychoanalytic Social Work. He is a Faculty Member of the Child & Adolescent Psychoanalytic Therapy Program, Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. He has contributed numerous articles to the literature and two books Nonverbal Learning Disabilities: A Clinical Perspective and Learning Disorders and Disorders of the Self in Children and Adolescents. Joe co-authored the textbook Guide to Psychoanalytic Developmental theories, used widely in courses on development. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Stan Schatt


Dr. Stan Schatt has led several careers including futurist and executive for many of the world’s leading technology market research firms, police department administrator, network manager, sales manager, autopsy assistant, software trainer, Telecommunications Department Chairman, and English professor.His non-fiction includes books on strategies for changing careers for green industry jobs, studies of Michael Connelly and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and college textbooks on network and data communications, telecommunications, and computer programming. Schatt turned to mysteries and wrote the paranormal mystery Silent Partner, a book about sexual identity. Pen-L Publishing will release its sequel, A Bullet for the Ghost Whisperer, in November 2015. Booktrope published Alien Love, a science fiction novel that Schatt likens to a cross between Casablanca and Star Wars in April 2015. Schatt also has published Extraterrestrial First Contact, a non-fiction study of the impact of first contact. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Radhika Sharma-Gordon



Radhika Sharma Gordon is the Manager of Education and Training at Apna Ghar (Our Home), an agency that provides counseling, legal advocacy, shelter, and supervised visitation to address the multiple needs of immigrant and refugee victims of gender-based violence. Since 1989, she has been working and volunteering in a variety of Chicago non-profit settings. Radhika has flourished in educating community members about disease prevention, training professionals to apply best practices in ending violence, advising programs and organizations on community engagement, or linking various individuals and organizations with experts and resources to improve their programs. She served on the Board of the Chicago Foundation for Women 1997-2003, where she established the Asian American Leadership Council. She was recognized by then Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley as an Unsung Heroine in 2000. She serves on the Board of Global Explorers Kids. From 2008-2012, Radhika led community health and violence prevention efforts in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, an entry point for many immigrant and refugees and one of the most diverse zip codes in the United States. In addition to her work at Apna Ghar, Radhika is an adjunct instructor in Community Health and Wellness at Northeastern Illinois University. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Jesse Viner, M.D.



Dr. Jesse Viner created Yellowbrick in recognition of the specialized needs of emerging adults and their families, and the necessity for a treatment system that addressed the unique challenges of the transition into adulthood. A recognized expert in the treatment of eating disorders, difficulties resulting from trauma and abuse, and bipolar disorder, Dr. Viner has three decades of experience applying the knowledge of psychiatry and psychoanalysis to the challenge of creating meaningful and pragmatically effective treatment programs. Dr. Viner has served as Director of Adult Psychiatry Inpatient Services for Northwestern University Medical School. He is on the faculty of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and Rush Medical College, and on faculty at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. Dr. Jesse Viner is parent to six emerging adult sons and daughters. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Mischa Zupko


Celebrated Chicago-based composer Mischa Zupko writes music that is emotionally charged, viscerally engaging and continually seeks to involve participation on a variety of levels. Having collaborated with a number of today’s most exciting performers, he has created a body of work that is intensely virtuosic and speaks with clarity of vision. In the words of New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini, Zupko’s Five Etudes for Piano were “Liszt-like in their florid generosity” and the L.A. Times has hailed his compositions as “engaging”. He was the 2010-2011 composer-in-residence with the Fulcrum Point New Music Project based in Chicago and was featured in a cover story of the Chicago Reader for his compositional activities in the Chicagoland area. View Guest page

Episode Listing: