Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Enigmatic Face: Motion is the Key to Understanding Expressions

27.07.2005


Happy, sad, angry, scared: Some of us are good at hiding these everyday emotions, while others are unable to disguise them. Whether subtle or intense, facial expressions are the key to how we identify human emotion.



Most studies of how we recognize facial expressions have used static models of intense expressions. But new research indicates that facial motion—seeing the range of movement in the arching of an eyebrow or the curve of a smile—is in fact an extremely important part of what makes subtle facial expressions identifiable.

A recent study by Zara Ambadar and Jeffrey F. Cohn of the University of Pittsburgh and Jonathan W. Schooler of the University of British Columbia, examined how motion affects people’s judgment of subtle facial expressions. Their report, "Deciphering the Enigmatic Face: The Importance of Facial Dynamics in Interpreting Subtle Facial Expressions," is in the May 2005 issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the American Psychological Society.


Two experiments demonstrated robust effects of motion in facilitating the perception of subtle facial expressions depicting six emotions, anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise. For the initial experiment, participants viewed a series of subtle facial expressions, displayed by faces on a computer screen. The faces varied in the way they were displayed; in the single static display, only the final expression was shown, while the dynamic displays showed the emergence of a subtle expression through several images, ending at the identical final expression.

Expressions that were not identifiable in static presentations suddenly became apparent in dynamic displays. "The participants were more accurate and more confident judging facial expressions in the conditions in which they perceived motion (dynamic) than in conditions in which motion perception was prevented."

The possible roles of timing and perception of change were investigated in an additional experiment. While the second experiment was conducted in a format similar to the first, it added a new condition called "first-last mode," that contained only the first and last images of each sequence. "This new condition substantially changed the temporal characteristics of the facial expressions while preserving the perception of motion."

The results of both studies confirmed that, overall, motion improves perception of facial expressions. The studies ruled out several possible explanations for the results, including the idea that the dynamic display provided more facial information inherent in multi-frame sequences. The idea that this beneficial effect of motion is due to its role in revealing the temporal characteristics of each emotion was not supported in the final experiment, as participants continued to identify the emotions more accurately during the dynamic sequence as well as during first-last mode, than when they were merely shown the final, static facial expression.

"Given the absence of evidence for any of the alternative roles of motion considered in the current studies, it seems quite likely that the benefits of motion observed here stem from its ability to enhance individuals’ perception of the way in which expressions have changed. The present findings thus suggest that motion’s role in the detection of change ... is critical in mediating individuals sensitivity to the communication of emotion."

For more information, contact Ambadar at ambadar@pitt.edu.

Psychological Science is ranked among the top 10 general psychology journals for impact by the Institute for Scientific Information. The American Psychological Society represents psychologists advocating science-based research in the public’s interest.

Zara Ambadar | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psychologicalscience.org/

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>