Ways of conveying happiness decoded

Ways of conveying happiness decoded
Representative Image. Ways of conveying happiness decoded

While our faces convey a plethora of emotions – from anger to sadness to joy, there are only 35 expressions that can actually convey these emotions across cultures.

For instance, disgust has just one facial expression to get its point across all over the world. On the other hand, happiness has 17 different facial expressions from cheer to delight and contentedness.

Aleix Martinez, the lead author of this study said, “This was delightful to discover. Because it speaks to the complex nature of happiness.”

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The differences in how our faces convey happiness can be as simple as the size of our smiles or our crinkles near our eyes, the study found.

The study also found that humans use three expressions to convey fear, four to convey surprise, and five each to convey sadness and anger.

The study was published in the journal of IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing.

The findings were built on Martinez’s previous work on facial expressions, which found that people can correctly identify other people’s emotions about 75 per cent of the time based solely on subtle shifts in how blood flow colours a person’s nose, eyebrows, cheeks, or chin.

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In the study, Martinez and Ramprakash Srinivasan assembled a list of 821 words that describe feelings which they used to mine the internet for images of people’s faces. Professional translators translated those words into Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Farsi, and Russian.

They plugged the words into search engines that were popular in 31 countries across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and ended up with approximately 7.2 million images of facial expressions across a variety of cultures.

The researchers concluded that most facial expressions of emotions and universal, that there are only a few dozens of them and that a large number of them are used to express joyfulness.

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(With inputs from ANI)



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