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Computer software can now identify 21 facial expressions

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Scientists at Ohio State University have developed software that can recognize facial expressions more than three hundred times better than any previous versions (Science Daily, March 31, 2014). The original six emotions were: happy, sad, fearful, angry, surprised, and disgusted. With this new software, 21 emotions can be recognized including complex emotions such as “happily disgusted” or “sadly angry”.

The scientists used 230 volunteers (130 female, 100 male). There were 5000 images. Each were studied for facial expressions that were the same in a large percentage of the volunteers. Using the information gathered through a system called Facial Action Coding System (FACS) by Paul Ekman they were able to identify these 21 emotions.

The reason for this research is for future use with both autistic and PTSD patients as well as improvements in cognitive psychology as a whole. This will help researchers discover the pathways to the chemicals in the brain for the creation of better therapy and medication treatments.

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