Members in the Media
From: ACLU

Experts Say ‘Emotion Recognition’ Lacks Scientific Foundation

Emotion recognition is a hot new area, with numerous companies peddling products that claim to be able to read people’s internal emotional states, and AI researchers looking to improve computers’ ability to do so. This is done through voice analysisbody language analysisgait analysiseye tracking, and remote measurement of physiological signs like pulse and breathing rates. Most of all, though, it’s done through analysis of facial expressions.

A new study, however, strongly suggests that these products are built on a bed of intellectual quicksand.

The key question is whether human emotions can be reliably determined from facial expressions. “The topic of facial expressions of emotion — whether they’re universal, whether you can look at someone’s face and read emotion in their face — is a topic of great contention that scientists have been debating for at least 100 years,” Lisa Feldman Barrett, Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University and an expert on emotion, told me. 

Read the whole story (subscription may be required): ACLU

More of our Members in the Media >


On the other hand, there are many reliable linguistic markers that distinguish people’s feelings (feelings in general, not specific emotions) from their thoughts. See the following ref for details:

Ickes, W., & Cheng, W. (2011). How do thoughts differ from feelings?: Putting the differences into words. Journal of Language and Cognitive Processes, 26, 1-23.

APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.