Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The 21 Facial Expressions We All Pull Revealed

Scientists have identified 21 facial expressions we all pull, more than three times the number previously thought.
Researchers at Ohio State University used computers to map the full range of human expressions.
Until now, experts based their work on six basic emotions - happy, sad, fearful, angry, surprised and disgusted.
It is hoped the findings will be a breakthrough for cognitive scientists tracking the genetic and chemical pathways that govern emotion in the brain.
Dr Aleix Martinez, who led the research, said: "We've gone beyond facial expressions for simple emotions like 'happy' or 'sad.'
"We found a strong consistency in how people move their facial muscles to express 21 categories of emotions.
"That is simply stunning. That tells us that these 21 emotions are expressed in the same way by nearly everyone, at least in our culture."
The scientists took photos of mostly student volunteers - 100 male and 130 female - making faces in response to verbal cues.
The phrase "you just got some great, unexpected news", produced a "happily surprised" expression, while "you smell a bad odour" was met with a "disgusted" face.
A body language analysis database called the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) was then searched for similarities and differences in the 5,000 images produced.
The research team looked closely at key points on the face for muscles, such as the corners of the mouth or outer edge of the eyebrow, as they worked to match movements to emotions.
A "happy" face appeared the same way with 99% of volunteers, who drew up their cheeks and smiled, while surprise involved widening the eyes and opening the mouth 92% of the time.
But the study - published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - identified hybrid emotions, such as "happily disgusted", which involved scrunching up the eyes and nose while also smiling.
Dr Martinez said it would be the emotion people feel when something "gross" but hilarious happens.
The new computer model could potentially help with the diagnosis and treatment of mental conditions like autism and post-traumatic stress disorder, the researchers said.
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