I am currently reading Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis and the above is one of the more famous quotes from the novel. It particularly resonated when I read this latest posting from the University of California at Berkeley: “Face it. Our faces don’t always reveal our true emotions: Emotional intelligence involves much more than reading people’s micro-expressions.” ScienceDaily. 26 February 2019.
Readers of my blogs will know that I have serious doubts about the work of Paul Ekman and his theory of Micro-Expressions. I followed up this blog with two others: Another Emotional Intelligence Cornerstone is Crumbling and Book Review: ‘How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain’. However the posting from UCal challenges decades of research positing that emotional intelligence and recognition are based largely on the ability to read micro-expressions signaling happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust, contempt and other positive and negative moods and sentiments. According to study lead author Zhimin Chen, “Our study reveals that emotion recognition is, at its heart, an issue of context as much as it is about faces,”
The researchers carried out three experiments with over 400 participants. The results showed that context was as important as facial recognition for decoding emotions. “Overall, the results suggest that context is not only sufficient to perceive emotion, but also necessary to perceive a person’s emotion,” said Whitney, a UC Berkeley psychology professor. “Face it, the face is not enough to perceive emotion.”
Currently millions, if not billions of dollars, is being spent to develop facial recognition of emotions in Artificial Intelligence. This appears to be a complete waste of money.
This blog first appeared on LinkedIn.
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