Dr Sylvia Xueni Pan

Staff details

Position Senior Lecturer in Graphics
Department Computing
Email x.pan (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7717 2581
Dr Sylvia Xueni Pan

Xueni Pan is a Senior Lecturer in Virtual Reality. Working in VR for almost 20 years she developed a unique interdisciplinary research profile with journal and conference publications in both VR technology and social neuroscience. Her work in training and education in VR has been featured multiple times in the media, including BBC Horizon and the New Scientist magazine. More info can be found on Xueni Pan's website.

Academic qualifications

  • 2009 PhD in Virtual Reality, Computer Science Department, UCL
  • 2005 MSc in Vision, Imaging, and Virtual Environments, Computer Science Department, UCL
  • 2004 BEng in Computer Science, Beihang University, Beijing, China


Before joining Goldsmiths in 2015, she worked as a research associate in Computer Science, UCL from 2009-2013, and in the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN), UCL from 2013-2015, where she remains an honorary research fellow.

Modules she taught/is current teaching at Goldsmiths include:

  • 3D Virtual Environments and Animation (previously Advanced Graphics and Animation)
  • Data Visualisation
  • Audio-Visual Computing
  • Perception and Multimedia Computing

Areas of supervision

The use of Immersive Virtual Reality in: Cognitive Neuroscience, Social Interaction, Training, Education, and Psychotherapy.

VR technology: Character Animation (facial expression, motion capture), Photogrammetry built Virtual Environment.

Professional activities

Xueni Pan has participated in the following projects

Picking up ethical challenges within the humdrum of professional practice: can 3D avatars help? Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, HENCEL (Health Education North and Central London), and the Wellcome Trust. In Collaboration with UCL Laws and UCL Computer Science. More info can be found on the Virtual Realities and Professions page.

INTERACT: ERC funded project looking at how we subconsciously copy each other, using Virtual Reality. The project was based at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN), UCL. More info can be found on INTERACT's webpage.

Moral Judgement and Virtual Reality: funded by the Leverhulme Trust to investigate how we make moral judgements - and more importantly whether our moral judgements are aligned with our moral action, in Virtual Reality. The project was based at the Department of Computer Science, UCL. More info can be found on UCL's project page.

Featured work

Research Interests

  • Virtual Reality
  • Social Neuroscience


Book Section

Gillies, Marco; Ballin, Daniel; Pan, Xueni and Dodgson, Neil. 2008. Semi-Autonomous Avatars: A New Direction for Expressive User Embodiment. In: Lola Cañamero and Ruth Aylett, eds. Animating Expressive Characters for Social Interaction. John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 235-255. ISBN 9789027252104


Dobre, Georgiana Cristina; Gillies, Marco and Pan, Xueni. 2022. Immersive Machine Learning for Social Attitude Detection in Virtual Reality Narrative Games. Virtual Reality, ISSN 1359-4338

Gibbs, Janet K.; Gillies, Marco and Pan, Xueni. 2022. A Comparison of the Effects of Haptic and Visual Feedback on Presence in Virtual Reality. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 157, 102717. ISSN 1071-5819

Zibrek, Katja; Pan, Xueni and Orel, Marko. 2021. Meeting Remotely-The Challenges of Optimal Avatar Interaction in VR. Frontiers in Virtual Reality, 2, 773258. ISSN 2673-4192

Collingwoode-Williams, Tara; O'Shea, Zoe; Gillies, Marco and Pan, Xueni. 2021. The Impact of Self-Representation and Consistency in Collaborative Virtual Environments. Frontiers in Virtual Reality, 2, 648601. ISSN 2673-4192

Farmer, H.; Hewstone, M.; Spiegler, O.; Morse, H.; Saifullah, A.; Pan, X.; Fell, B.; Charlesford, J. and Terbeck, S.. 2020. Positive intergroup contact modulates fusiform gyrus activity to black and white faces. Scientific Reports, 10, 2700. ISSN 2045-2322

Drewett, Olivia; Hann, Gayle; Gillies, Marco; Sher, Carmel; Delacroix, Sylvie; Pan, Xueni; Collingwoode-Williams, Tara and Fertleman, Caroline. 2019. A Discussion of the Use of Virtual Reality for Training Healthcare Practitioners to Recognize Child Protection Issues. Frontiers in Public Health, 7(255),

Pan, Xueni and Hamilton, Antonia F de C. 2018. Why and how to use virtual reality to study human social interaction: The challenges of exploring a new research landscape. British Journal of Psychology, 109(3), pp. 395-417. ISSN 0007-1269

Pan, Xueni; Collingwoode-Williams, Tara; Antley, Angus; Brenton, Harry; Congdon, Benjamin; Drewett, Olivia; Gillies, Marco; Swapp, David; Pleasence, Pascoe; Fertleman, Caroline and Delacroix, Sylvie. 2018. A study of professional awareness using immersive virtual reality: the responses of general practitioners to child safeguarding concerns. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 5, 80.

Pan, Xueni and Hamilton, Antonia F de C. 2018. Understanding dual realities and more in VR. British Journal of Psychology, 109(3), pp. 437-441. ISSN 0007-1269

Fertleman, Caroline; Aubugeau-Williams, Phoebe; Sher, Carmel; Lim, Ai-Nee; Lumley, Sophie; Delacroix, Sylvie and Pan, Xueni. 2018. A Discussion of Virtual Reality As a New Tool for Training Healthcare Professionals. Frontiers in Public Health, 6,

Forbes, Paul Alexander George; Pan, Xueni and Hamilton, Antonia F de C. 2016. Reduced Mimicry to Virtual Reality Avatars in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(12), pp. 3788-3797. ISSN 0162-3257

Kyriakou, Marios; Pan, Xueni and Chrysanthou, Yiorgos. 2016. Interaction with virtual crowd in Immersive and semi‐Immersive Virtual Reality systems. Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds, 28(5), e1729. ISSN 1546-4261

Pan, Xueni; Slater, Mel; Beacco, Alejandro; Navarro, Xavi; Bellido Rivas, Anna I; Swapp, David; Hale, Joanna; Forbes, Paul Alexander George; Denvir, Catrina; Hamilton, Antonia F. de C. and Delacroix, Sylvie. 2016. The Responses of Medical General Practitioners to Unreasonable Patient Demand for Antibiotics-A Study of Medical Ethics Using Immersive Virtual Reality. PLoS ONE, 11(2), e0146837. ISSN 1932-6203

Pan, Xueni and Hamilton, Antonia F. de C.. 2015. Automatic imitation in a rich social context with virtual characters. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 790. ISSN 1664-1078

Pan, Xueni; Gillies, Marco and Slater, Mel. 2015. Virtual character personality influences participant attitudes and behavior – an interview with a virtual human character about her social anxiety. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 2, 1. ISSN 2296-9144

Friedman, Doron; Pizarro, Rodrigo; Or-Berkers, Keren; Neyret, Solène; Pan, Xueni and Slater, Mel. 2014. A method for generating an illusion of backwards time travel using immersive virtual reality—an exploratory study. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 943. ISSN 1664-1078

Cook, Jennifer; Swapp, David; Pan, Xueni; Bianchi-Berthouze, Nadia and Blakemore, Sarah-Jayne. 2014. Atypical interference effect of action observation in autism spectrum conditions. Psychological Medicine, 44(4), pp. 731-740. ISSN 0033-2917

Pan, Xueni; Gillies, Marco; Barker, Chris; Clark, David M. and Slater, Mel. 2012. Socially Anxious and Confident Men Interact with a Forward Virtual Woman: An Experimental Study. PLoS ONE, 7(4), e32931.

Gillies, Marco; Pan, Xueni and Slater, Mel. 2010. Piavca: a framework for heterogeneous interactions with virtual characters. Virtual Reality, 14(4), pp. 221-228. ISSN 1359-4338

Gillies, Marco; Pan, Xueni; Slater, Mel and Shawe-Taylor, John. 2008. Responsive Listening Behavior. Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds, 19(5), pp. 579-589. ISSN 1546-4261

Conference or Workshop Item

Dobre, Georgiana Cristina; Wilczkowiak, Marta; Gillies, Marco; Pan, Xueni and Rintel, Sean. 2022. 'Nice is Different than Good: Longitudinal Communicative Effects of Realistic and Cartoon Avatars in Real Mixed Reality Work Meetings'. In: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstracts. New Orleans, LA, United States 29 April - 5 May 2022.

Ma, Fang and Pan, Xueni. 2022. 'Visual Fidelity Effects on Expressive Self-avatar in Virtual Reality: First Impressions Matter'. In: 2022 IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces. Christchurch, New Zealand 12 - 16 March 2022.

Dobre, Georgiana Cristina; Gillies, Marco; Falk, Patrick; Ward, Jamie A; Hamilton, Antonia F de C and Pan, Xueni. 2021. 'Direct Gaze Triggers Higher Frequency of Gaze Change: An Automatic Analysis of Dyads in Unstructured Conversation'. In: International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI ’21). Montréal, QC, Canada 18 - 22 October 2021.

Gillies, Marco and Pan, Xueni. 2018. 'Virtual reality for social skills training'. In: VR/AR in Higher Education Conference 2018. Swansea, United Kingdom 12 September 2018.

Hale, Joanna; Pan, Xueni and Hamilton, Antonia F. de C.. 2015. 'Using interactive virtual characters in social neuroscience'. In: IEEE VR. Arles, France.

Kyriakou, Marios; Pan, Xueni and Chrysanthou, Yiorgos. 2015. 'Interaction with virtual agents Comparison of the participants' experience between an IVR and a semi-IVR system'. In: IEEE VR. Arles, France.

Khantong, Ranchida; Pan, Xueni and Slater, Mel. 2015. 'An experimental study on the virtual representation of children'. In: IEEE VR. Arles, France.

Pan, Xueni; Gillies, Marco and Slater, Mel. 2008. 'Male Bodily Responses during an Interaction with a Virtual Woman'. In: Intelligent Virtual Agents. Tokyo, Japan 2008.

Pan, Xueni; Gillies, Marco; Sezgin, T M and Loscos, C. 2007. 'Expressing Complex Mental States Through Facial Expressions'. In: Second International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction. Lisbon, Portugal.

Vinayagamoorthy, Vinoba; Gillies, Marco; Steed, A.; Tanguy, E.; Pan, Xueni; Loscos, C. and Slater, M.. 2006. 'Building Expression into Virtual Characters'. In: Eurographics Conference State of the Art Reports. Vienna, Austria 4-8 September, 2006.

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