Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » May 2005 » A Day Late…

[« Since they went and announced it on the mailing list....] [Will these EVER catch on??? »]

05/03/2005: A Day Late…

...And a Dollar short…I finally got to watching my TiVo’d episode of Real Time with Bill Maher – and the entire Jeff Gannon segment. Aside from the already mentioned “Blinking/Shifty” eyed evasiveness of this guy talking, I think a “micro-expressionist” could have field day just reviewing that tape.

The field of “Micro-expressions” is a semi-new one and there is even a computer based program created by Dr. Terrence Sejnowski, head of the team of researchers who developed the program at the Jonas Salk Institute in La Jolla, California designed to unravel micro-expressions Computer Program Trained To Read Faces Developed By Salk Team .

”A computer program developed by a Salk-led team has been trained to distinguish among a number of facial cues, helping to sort false from genuine expressions. What's more, the program performs as well as a psychologist trained to read faces and markedly better than human non-experts.

"Computers have a difficult time analyzing expressions on faces, something we can do without even thinking," said Terrence Sejnowski, Salk professor and senior author of the study, which appears in the current issue of Psychophysiology.

"But by mimicking the ability of humans to learn by experience, computers have now broken through this barrier," he said.

Investigators hope that their program will prove helpful to law enforcement officials and mental health professionals.

"When someone is lying, their true feelings often flicker across their face in what we call a micro-expression, which is quickly covered up by a posed expression," said Paul Ekman, professor of psychology at the University of California, San Francisco and co-author of the study. "These signals may be too brief for professionals to detect in an interview setting, but they can be picked up if the conversation is videotaped and reviewed."

The problem is that human analysis is labor-intensive and painstakingly slow. "It takes about one hour to score one minute of tape," explained Marian S. Bartlett, Salk postdoctoral researcher and first author of the study. "Our program, on the other hand, can do a minute of tape in about five minutes, and once we optimize the program it will run in near real-time."

The program works by comparing images of faces to 60 filters, or templates, each of which looks for independent components of facial movement in different regions. For instance, raising the left inner brow would increase a face's match to filter no. 1, whereas raising the left outer brow would increase the match to filter no. 2. The computer analyzes the information from all 60 filters and decides whether the collective output matches AU1 or AU2 and so on.

In the current study, the program was trained to recognize six of 46 individual muscle actions described by Ekman. For all six actions, it out-performed human non-experts and performed as well as highly trained human experts. The investigators plan next to teach it the remaining actions and then tackle combinations of these actions.

Karen on 05.03.05 @ 05:16 AM CST

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