Developing Educational Computer Animation Based on Human Personality Types

Sajid Musa, Rushan Ziatdinov, Omer Faruk Sozcu, Carol Griffiths. (2015). Developing Educational Computer Animation Based on Human Personality Types, European Journal of Contemporary Education 11(1), 52-71 [PDF].


Computer animation in the past decade has become one of the most noticeable features of technology-based learning environments. Its educational application known as educational computer animation is considered to be one of the most effective ways for preparing materials for teaching, and its importance in assisting learners to process, understand and remember information efficiently has vastly grown since the advent of powerful graphics-oriented computers. Based on theories and facts of psychology, colour science, computer animation, geometric modelling and technical aesthetics, this study aimed to establish an inter-disciplinary area of research towards greater educational effectiveness. With today’s high educational demands as well as the lack of time provided for certain courses, classical educational methods have shown deficiencies in keeping up with the drastic changes observed in the digital era. Generally speaking, without taking into account various significant factors such as gender, age, level of interest and memory level, educational animation may turn out to be insufficient for learners or fail to meet their needs. However, we have noticed that the applications of animation for education have been given only inadequate attention, and students’ personality types have never been taken into account. We suggest there is an interesting relationship here, and propose essential factors in creating educational animations based on students’ personality types. Particularly, we study how information in computer animation may be presented in a preferable way based on font types and their families, colours and colour schemes, emphasizing texts, shapes of characters designed by planar quadratic Bernstein-Bézier curves. The study has found that both choleric-melancholic and phlegmatic-sanguine personalities gained the lowest and the highest percentages in selection of different colour groups (cool, warm, and achromatic). We have experimentally confirmed the theory of Nabiyev & Ziatdinov (2014) which reports that planar quadratic Bernstein-Bézier curves with monotonic curvature function may not be aesthetic. Finally, based on the survey results, we have clarified how school students percieve the fundamental principles of computer animation.


Recent lectures and talks by this manuscript’s authors (Musa et al., 2013) in the Catholic University of Ružomberok in Slovakia have shown that there is a certain interest in educational computer animation from various scientific and educational schools of Europe. Computer animation which is one of the highly-recommended ways of explaining models and processes in natural science education has spread its influence on learning and instruction in areas like economy, industry, medical tourism and their educational aspects. Before we discuss computer animation itself, we review its history.

It has been twenty years since animation became the most notable feature of the technology-based learning environment (Dundar, 1993). Mayer and Moreno (2002) defined animation as a form of pictorial presentation, referring to computer-generated moving pictures showing associations among drawn figures. Motion, picture and simulation correspond to this idea. Videos and illustrations are motion pictures portraying movement of real objects.

Verbal forms of teaching have been augmented by pictorial forms of teaching (Lowe, 2004; Lasseter, 1987; Pailliotet & Mosenthal, 2000). Although it is undeniable that verbal modes of presentation have long reigned supreme in education, the addition of visual forms of presentation have enhanced students’ understanding (Mayer, 1999; Sweller, 1999). As a matter of fact, animation or graphic illustration is preferred to verbal or numerical presentation by most university students when dealing with dynamic subject matter (Lowe, 2004).

Nevertheless, Lowe (2004), Lasseter (1987), and Pailliotet et al. (2000) note that the creation of multimedia instructional environments – holding potential for enhancing learner’s way of learning – has created much debate. It is evident that animation presentations are less useful than was expected. In addition, there is inadequate knowledge about how to create animation in order to aid learning (Plötzner & Lowe, 2004) and some create it for the sole purpose of gaining aesthetic attraction. According to Lowe (2004), some who work in the entertainment industry tend to create characters just for entertainment, rather than using it as a bridge which would help to build coherent understanding using their work.

Several cases have shown that animation can even hold back rather than improve learning (Campbell et al., 2005) depending on how it is used (Mayer & Moreno, 2002). Besides, cognitive connection can be lost since animation imposes greater cognitive processing demands compared to static visuals since the information drastically changes (Hasler, 2007).

According to Mayer (2005), “The current emphasis on ways of improving animations implicitly assumes a bottom-up model animation comprehension… Comprehension is primarily a process of encoding the information in the external display, so that improving that display necessarily improves understanding”. The role of animation in multimedia learning examined by Mayer and Moreno (2000) showed a cognitive theory of multimedia learning. They were able to name seven principles for the application of animation in multimedia instruction. To name one of them, according to the multimedia principle, students absorb more when both narration and animation are used rather than using just one or the other. When these two are presented together, learners can easily create mental connections between corresponding words and pictures. According to the coherence principle, learners learn productively both from animation and narration especially when unnecessary words, sounds (even music) and videos are not present. The reason behind this is the trouble the learners experience when creating mental connections due to fewer cognitive resources between relevant portions of the narration and animations (Plötzner & Lowe, 2004).

Educational computer animation also plays an important role in assisting language teaching and learning (Bikchentaeva & Ziatdinov, 2012; Musa et al., 2013). The effect of learner controlled progress was examined by Hasler (2007) regarding educational animation on instructional effectiveness. Referring to her findings, to teach the determinants of day and night to primary school students, three audio-visual computer animations and narration-based presentations were used. The results of the experiment showed that the group which had a-two learner paced groups displayed higher test performance compared with the other (Hasler, 2007).

Main Results

In this paper, we discuss theoretical aspects of creating educational computer animations based on psychological characteristics of human personality types. Particularly, we study how information in computer animation may be presented in more efficient ways based on font types and their families, colours and colour schemes, emphasizing texts, shapes of planar quadratic Bernstein-Bézier curves. We analyzed how tested students understand the fundamental principles of traditional computer animation, and question whether these principles should or should not be followed for developing educational computer animations for use in high schools of Turkey, where computer science or informatics classes may not even exist.

Our work has the following novelties:

  • For the first time in computer-assisted learning we have proposed a way for developing educational computer animations based on fundamental personality types of human temperament;

  • We have experimentally analyzed how fundamental principles of traditional computer animation are understood by school students;

  • We examined the relationship between personality type and preference for colour and shape.

Temperament Based Learning

In this section, we discuss the work which has been done in this field. The influence of temperament mainly within the context of the family and school on the development of school-age children was examined by McClowry (1992). In line with this, she presented examples of how nurses may use temperament theory when advising caretakers. Temperament theory (McClowry, 1992) serves as a guide for the nurses in assessing children’s behaviour.

Graham (1995) offered recommendations in carrying out temperament-based intervention for parents alone or for both the parents and teachers. She concluded that “acknowledging temperament-based guidance would show that each child has a particular behavioural style that contributes to his or her development and to the social environment”.

Jong et al. (2013) stated that the posture and muscle loading of the body is significantly affected by various different interactive gaming controllers. It has been argued that the period of exposure to the interactive gaming controllers affects the success in using the game for the purposes of learning. Jong et al. (2013) aimed to explore the different behavioural responses based on the different temperaments regarding mathematical game play by comparing the touch-based and gesture-based interactive devices among 119 kindergarten participants. The results indicated that the touch-based interaction (TBI) group compared to the gesture-based interaction (GBI) group performed better with respect to numerical counting in both games. It also showed that with all the dimensions of temperaments, persistence was the only one which had positive correlation to TBI. In other words, TBI was more favoured over GBI for kindergarten children. Jong et al. (2013) added that more emphasis on TBI would be a great move for e-learning designers.

Recently, Ali (2007, 2008) discussed the development of software tools for online teaching that enables a tutor to control the psychological state of students in the process of testing, and developed the mathematical model of a dual system of testing consisting of three parts: lectures, tests, and teaching program. This shows that a temperament-based teaching approach finds some applications in e-learning.

Li et al. (2007), adopting the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) (Eysenck, 1958), conducted a survey with 1620 student participants. Students were categorized based on their year level respectively: primary 5, junior secondary 2 and senior secondary 2. They found a significant correlation between personality types according to the EPQ and maths achievement. Moreover, they defined superior and inferior temperaments in terms of achievement in maths. Superior temperament-based students are those who have sanguine, sanguine-phlegmatic and phlegmatic types of temperament; they are the ones who benefit from learning mathematics. Benefitting refers to how students learn mathematics easily. Students who are choleric, choleric-melancholic and melancholic which are considered inferior temperaments do not benefit from learning mathematics. Li et al. (2007) stated that in mathematics education, one should recognize students’ temperament differences which indeed affect learning mathematics.

The Four Temperament Types

In this section, we discuss the four temperament types shortly. We compare temperament types by their general descriptions, wonderful characteristics and unpleasant traits.

Direct discussion of the temperament types without looking at their roots would be a great mistake. Thus we would like to shortly describe how today’s temperament types came to be. Technically, “temperament” from the Latin word “temperare” meaning “to mix” has a long history, from the ancient time of Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370). Galen (AD 131-200) pioneered the first typology of temperament and gave the names “sanguine”, “choleric”, “melancholic” and “phlegmatic”. These four were the temperamental categories named after bodily humours. We can easily see and understand these four temperaments by looking at Table 1 and their emotional representation shown in Fig. 1.

Hans Eysenck initially theorized personality as two dichotomies; extraversion/introversion and neuroticism/stability.


Assertive, outgoing, sociable and talkative are only a few characteristics of extraversion. Based on Eysenck’s arousal theory of extraversion, performance failure is due to one’s inability to meet the ideal (optimal) level of cortical arousal. The person who does less or more than the desired optimal level ends up with under-performance. Brain waves, skin conductance or even sweating is used to measure arousal. Performance is low when the levels of arousal are very low and very high, however, performance is maximized at a more optimal mid-level of arousal. Therefore, according to Eysenck’s theory, extraverts are chronically under-aroused and bored. In line with this, for extraverts to bring out the optimal level of performance, external stimulation is needed. Conversely, introverts are in need of peace and calmness to bring out the optimal level of performance. They are chronically over-aroused and nervous: that is why they need to be content from inside.


Depression and anxiety are high levels of negative affect which define neuroticism or emotionality. Based on Eysenck’s theory, the activation threshold of the visceral part of the brain or the sympathetic nervous system is neuroticism. The part of the brain tasked for the fight-or-flight response in case of danger is the sympathetic nervous system. Blood pressure, cold hands, heart rate, muscular tension and sweating measure the activation. A negative effect of fight-or-flight is experienced by those who have low activation thresholds in the case of minor stressors. In addition, since they are unable to inhibit their emotional reactions, they are easily nervous or saddened. These people are the neurotic ones. In the case of those who have high activation thresholds, they are the ones who have good emotional control. They are emotionally stable people. Nevertheless, when faced with very major stressors, they experience negative effects.

These two initial concepts, define four quadrants; stable extraverts, unstable extraverts, stable introverts, and unstable introverts. Human temperaments fall into these quadrants.

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