Research Scientist · Disney Research LA

I am a research scientist in Machine Learning and Computer Vision. I work on Social Signal Processing, Affective Computing and Emotional AI.

Email: segalin.cristina@gmail,com,

My research interests mainly focus on Computer vision, Machine Learning, Pattern Recognition, Social Signal Processing, Social Media Analysis, Image/Video Processing, Computational Aesthetics, Biometrics, Non-Verbal Behavior Analysis, Behavioral Science, Computational Ethology.

I received my BSc in Multimedia Computer Science (2010), MSc in Engineering and Computer Science (2012) and PhD in Computer Science (2016) at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Verona (Italy). During my PhD I investigated the interplay between aesthetic preferences and individual differences. After my graduation I worked as research associate at Disney Research in Pittsburgh (PA). Then I joined the Computational Vision lab of Pietro Perona at Caltech as postdoctoral scholar where I worked on Computational Ethology, focusing on anial social behavior analysis, detecting, tracking and recognizing mice actions in videos.

  • — [01/14/19] Paper accepted on Journal of Consumer Psycology "Predicting the personal appeal of marketing images using computational methods"
  • — [09/10/18] Started working at Disney Research LA

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    A New Soft Biometric Trait: Favorite Images

    This dataset is used for studying personal aesthetics, a recent soft biometrics application where the goal is to recognize people from the images they like. It's composed of 200 users, 40K images. Given a set of preferred image of a user.

    PUBLICATIONS: [ACCV14] [ICMI14] [IEEEForensics14] [ICIP14]

    Personality Computing and Images: PsychoFlickr

    This dataset is used to infer both self-assessed and attributed personality traits (Big-Five Traits) of Flickr users from their galleries of favorite pictures. The datset is composed of 60,000 pictures tagged as favorite by 300 users.

    [Dataset] [Code Features]


    I attended a bachelor degree in Multimedia Information Technology at the University of Verona, where I was mainly interested in Computer Vision, Augmented Reality, Human Computer Interaction, Computer Graphics and also Perception. My bachelor degree thesis proposed a face recognition system, that has been installed at the door of the VIPS laboratory of the University of Verona. I completed a master degree on Engineering and Computer Science with a thesis focused on the research field of Social Signal Processing (SSP), the domain aimed at modeling, analysis and synthesis of nonverbal communication in human-human and human-machine interactions. The purpose of the thesis was the person re-identfication through the way people chat with other subjects. During that period, I was lucky enough to work also on other research projects, like recognizing the age of children by the way they talk with each other. SSP together with, Social Media Analysis, Personality Computing, Machine Learning and Computer Vision became the main topics of my PhD at the Dept. of Computer Science in Verona (Italy).

    During the first year of PhD I investigated the interplay between aesthetic preferences and individual differences, under the supervision of Marco Cristani. I had the great opportunity to move to Glasgow for some months and collaborate with Alessandro Vinciarelli to this project. I collected a dataset of 60K images favorited from Flickr users, extracted features coming from the field of Computational Aesthetics (CA), and predicted from them the personality of a user. Continuing on the perspective of CA, we also proposed a soft biometrics application where the goal is to recognize people by considering the images they like as a new biometric trait. At the end of the second year of PhD I moved for some months in Birmingham to collaborate with Mirco Musolesi with the aim of investigating the role of textual, visual and social cues in information propagation in Twitter. My last contribute during the PhD was in the field of Deep Learning and Representation Learning, trying generalize the particular cues that characterize each personality trait. While waiting to defend my Phd thesis, I worked as research associate at Disney Research in Pittsburgh (PA).

    After my graduation, I moved to Pasadena (CA) to work as postdoctoral scholar at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), in the Computational Vision Lab, under the supervision of Pietro Perona and to collaborate with David Anderson. Here I worked on animal behavior, in particular, Computational Ethology, which involves biologists and computer scientists with the common goal of understanding, analyzing, measuring and describing animal behavior using Machine Learning and Machine Vision algorithms and tools. My role here was to develop a novel system able to detect, track and recognize mice actions on videos.

    Currently I am a research scientist at Disney Research LA, working on Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Emotional AI and Affective Computing and Perception with the goal of creating new magic experiences in the theme parks, resorts, hotels and cruiseships.

    Current Position

  • Research Scientist, Disney Research Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Education

  • Postdoctoral scholar, Computational Vision Lab, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, Advisor: P. Perona
  • PhD in Computer Science, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Verona, Advisor: M. Cristani
    • Thesis title: A Social Signal Processing Perspective on Computational Aesthetics: Theories and Applications.
    • Thesis (pdf, slides)
  • Master Degree in Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Curriculum in Visual Computing, University of Verona.
    • Thesis title: Statistical analysis of Skype conversations: recognizing individual by their chatting style. Advisor: M. Cristani
    • Thesis (pdf)
  • Bachelor Degree in Multimedia Information Technology, University of Verona
    • Thesis title: Sistema di rilevamento automatico e riconoscimento volti: aspetti metodologici e pratici. Advisor: U.Castellani
    • Thesis (pdf)
  • High School Diploma in Ragioneria and expert programmer.
  • Internship and Visits

  • DR Internship, Dinsey Reseach, Pittsburgh, PA, Tutor: Maarten Bos.
  • UoB Internship, School of Computer Science, Birmingham, UK, Academic Tutor: M.Cristani, Tutor: M. Musolesi.
  • GLA.DCS Internship, School of Computing Science, Glasgow, Scotland, Academic Tutor: M. Cristani, Tutor: A. Vinciarelli.
  • IIT Internship, IIT Genova, Genova, Tutor: V. Murino.
  • VIPS Lab Internship, Computer Science Dept., University of Verona, Academic Tutor: M. Cristani, Tutor: U. Castellani.
  • VIPS Lab Internship, Computer Science Dept., University of Verona, Academic Tutor: U. Castellani, Tutor: M. Cristani.
  • Awards and Grants

  • ICVSS Best Presentation Award 2015 - International Computer Vision Summer School best poster presentation.
  • Erasmus Placement 2013 - Second over four grants assigned to PhD students for placements in companies, facilities.
  • PhD Scholarship - University of Verona that support my PhD from January 2013 to December 2015.
  • Reference List

  • Pietro Perona - California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. Email:
  • Marco Cristani - University of Verona, Verona, Italy. Email:
  • Alessandro Vinciarelli - School of Computing Science, University of Glasgow (Glasgow) and Idiap (Switzerland).
  • Given Talks

  • Feb 2018 - Social Profiling through Image Understanding - Legendary Analytics - Boston, MA (USA)
  • Feb 2018 - Unveiling the Multimedia Unconscious - MIT Media Lab - Boston, MA (USA)
  • Feb 2018 - Social Profiling through Image Understanding - MIT Media Lab - Boston, MA (USA)
  • Oct 2017 - What your Facebook Profile Picture Reveals about your Personality - ACM MM, Mountain View, CA (USA)
  • May 2017 - Social Profiling through Image Understanding - Association for Psychological Science Convention - Boston, MA (USA)
  • Dec 2016 - Social Profiling through Image Understanding - NIPS, Barcelona (ES)
  • Feb 2016 - Computational Aesthetics for Multimedia, a Social Signal Processing Perspective - Caltech, Pasadena, CA (USA)
  • Oct 2015 - Computational Aesthetics for Multimedia - UNSW School of Psychology, Sydney (AU)
  • Oct 2015 - Computational Aesthetics for Multimedia - UTS, Sydney (AU)
  • Oct 2015 - Computational Aesthetics for Multimedia - NICTA, Canberra (AU)
  • July 2015 - ICVSS oral presentation for best poster presentation award - Sicily (IT)
  • Oct 2014 - Deep Learning Applications - Dept. of Computer Science, University of Verona, Verona (IT)
  • July 2014 - Introduction to Deep Learning - Dept. of Computer Science, University of Verona, Verona (IT)
  • Reviewer

  • NIPS, ACCV, ICCV, CVPR, ECCV, CHI, PLOS ONE, NEUROCOM, IEEE Multimedia, Affective Computing, AIMed
  • Media Coverage

  • 5 Lessons to Learn from a Disney Research Scientist - DMN
  • Disney’s Deep Dive on Personality Research, and Its Potential Implications for Brand Marketers - Street Fight
  • Social Profiling - Wikipedia
  • What machine vision means for creativity - Contagious
  • Supervision

  • Philine Witzig - DRLA, CA
  • Zack Polizzi, David Mace, Jennifer Sun - CalTech, Pasadena, CA
  • Francesca Zerbato, Luca Brunelli, Marco Fanini, Elena Boschetti - University of Verona, Verona, Italy - Master's Thesis
  • Computer Skills

  • Coding: Python, Tensorflow, Pytorch, Matlab, Latex, HTML, CSS, C/C++/C#, SQL, Java, R
  • Tools: ARToolkit, PRTools, Flickr API, Twitter API, Django
  • Multimedia/Design: Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya,
  • Qualities

  • Personal Skills:Inclined to analyze both theoretical and practical problems, able to solve them by employing novel concepts, good communication, eager to learn and develop new skills. Good software engineering abilities
  • Experience with:High level programming languages, digital design flow, validation and testing techniques, scripting languages, web interface development.
  • Interpersonal Skills:Strong ability to blend in new contexts, good skills in teamwork, good organizational abilities, dynamism, desire for learning, extrovert.
  • Driving License: B
  • Hobby and sports: Travelling, reading, cooking, watching TV shows, Yoga, Running, eating sushi and lots of chocolate!!
  • graphic