The Naked Face

Can you read people's thoughts just by looking at them?

Really interesting article about facial expressions, and some folks who've done a huge amount of research on them:

"Ekman then began to layer one action unit on top of another, in order to compose the more complicated facial expressions that we generally recognize as emotions. Happiness, for instance, is essentially A.U. six and twelve -- contracting the muscles that raise the cheek (orbicularis oculi, pars orbitalis) in combination with the zygomatic major, which pulls up the corners of the lips. Fear is A.U. one, two and four, or, more fully, one, two, four, five, and twenty, with or without action units twenty-five, twenty-six, or twenty-seven. That is: the inner brow raiser (frontalis, pars medialis) plus the outer brow raiser (frontalis, pars lateralis) plus the brow-lowering depressor supercilli plus the levator palpebrae superioris (which raises the upper lid), plus the risorius (which stretches the lips), the parting of the lips (depressor labii), and the masseter (which drops the jaw). Disgust? That's mostly A.U. nine, the wrinkling of the nose (levator labii superioris, alaeque nasi), but it can sometimes be ten, and in either case may be combined with A.U. fifteen or sixteen or seventeen."
Tags: ,

4 Responses:

  1. four says:

    At my school I work closely with a lab which is developing software to detect emotions by just looking at an image of a face. The software will be used in conjuction with some other code to make a user friendly computer game for small children. The character in the game will know where to look to talk directly to the child and when it is pleasing or boring the kid.

  2. icis_machine says:

    this article is far more indepth than the bargin bin book i got called "how to read a person like a book".

    i guess the real question is when a proper manual will be released so i can take it to a club and see this first hand myself?

    • jwz says:

      People at clubs are easy.

      "Trying to get laid."
      "Trying to get laid."
      "Trying to get laid."
      "Hating self."
      "Trying to get laid."
      "Hoping Fernando doesn't touch him/her."
      "Trying to get laid."

  3. sarahsmiles says:

    Now guess what happens when someone comes up with an app that allows expressions that we're showing when we read someone's journal to be recorded. Hmmm... I hope I'll be able to hack my own facial expressions so that no one will see me drooling.