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Going beyond universal expressions: investigating the visual perception of dynamic facial expressions

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Kaulard,  K
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Wallraven,  C
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Cunningham,  DW
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Bülthoff,  HH
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Kaulard, K., Wallraven, C., Cunningham, D., & Bülthoff, H. (2009). Going beyond universal expressions: investigating the visual perception of dynamic facial expressions. Poster presented at 32nd European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP 2009), Regensburg, Germany.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-C39D-F
Abstract
Investigations of facial expressions have focused almost exclusively on the six so-called universal expressions. During everyday interaction, however, a much larger set of facial expressions is used for communication. To examine this mostly unexplored space, we developed a large video database for emotional and conversational expressions: native German participants performed 58 expressions based on pre-defined context scenarios. Three experiments were performed to investigate the validity of the scenarios and the recognizability of the expressions. In Experiment 1, ten participants were asked to freely name the facial expressions that would be elicited given the scenarios. The scenarios were effective: 82 of the answers matched the intended expressions. In Experiment 2, ten participants had to identify 55 expression videos of ten actors, presented successively. We found that 20 expressions could be identified reliably without any context. Finally, in Experiment 3, twenty participants had to group the 55 expression videos based on similarity while allowing for repeated comparisons. Out of the 55 expressions, 45 formed a consistent group, respectively, showing that visual comparison facilitates the recognition of conversational expressions. Interestingly, none of the experiments found any advantage for the universal expressions, demonstrating the robustness with which we interpret conversational facial expressions.