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Title: The Face of Emotion: A computational model of the production and visual perception of facial expression of emotion
11am to noon
Tuesday, 9th February, 2016

Abstract: How many facial expressions of emotion can humans produce and visually recognize? How does our brain interpret them? Did some of these non-verbal signals evolved to serve as grammatical markers in human language?

In this talk, I will overview the research we have done to address these fundamental questions. Specifically, we will show that a. people consistently produce at least 23 facial expressions of emotion (much more than the previously 6 proposed by Darwin), b. these emotions are perceived categorically, not as combinations of more basic categories, c. our visual system interprets them by analyzing shape and shading image features that represent the movement of individual facial muscles (known as action units, AUs), and d. three of these emotions have been compounded to form a (universal) grammatical marker of negation in human language.

I will present a computational model of this perception of facial expressions and show behavioral and imaging experiments in favor of this mode. For example, we will identify a small region in posterior STS dedicated to the coding of individual AUs as predicted by the model. I will also show how this computational model can be used to define computer vision systems that yield superior results to state of the art algorithms and argue that the important problem of these vision tasks is detection, rather than recognition.

Bio: Aleix M. Martinez is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The Ohio State University (OSU), where he is the founder and director of the Computational Biology and Cognitive Science Lab. He is also affiliated with the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, where he is a member of the executive committee. Aleix has served as an associate editor of several major journals devoted to vision and affect (PAMI, TAC) and as area chair for many top conferences (CVPR, ICCV). He was also a Program co-Chair for CVPR 2014. He is a member of NIH’s Cognition and Perception study section. More about him: http://www2.ece.ohio- state.edu/~aleix/