Friday 21 March 2014

Tutorial: Validating Videos of Facial Affect

Today, I made a little experiment to validate videos of facial effect. Your institute probably has the Ekman faces CDROM, right? If you do, you can verify it has over a hundred pictures of very retro looking faces of people including Paul Ekman himself (if younger), enacting six different emotions – happy, angry, sad, disgusted, surprised, fearful – and a neutral baseline (sometimes). You could argue that enough is enough, these pictures are too old, or perhaps that emotions in the wild are rarely statically displayed. My reason was less obvious: for a project on the affective and cognitive effects of touch, somehow we ended up with this giant construct of a study which includes a bar in virtual reality, where one meets a 3D model displaying some emotion, then touches the participant, whose EEG we measure. I promise you it honestly makes sense and is great fun to do, but in the mean time, it’s clear that we need to validate animated (as opposed to static) faces to know in advance that the emotions are recognized consistently.

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