When I first started examining faces, learning micro expressions and trying to determine what emotions were present in an image or video, another that I got stuck with was telling the difference between anger and disgust.
The main ingredients of anger include the lowering of the eyebrows (in FACS terms, AU4), and the raising (AU5) and tightening (AU7) of the eyelids. This can also include any number of other factors such as clenching the jaw, gritting teeth or tightening the lips for example.
Disgust is recognised most by the wrinkling of the nose (AU9) or the raising of the upper lip (AU10). It’s also common to see the raising of the chin boss (AU17) in disgust, and perhaps even the lower lip dropping (AU16). As with the anger examples above, this excludes all the possible combinations of the mouth opening.
This is where we come to an interesting question – what if there are signs of both anger and disgust in an image? It’s easier to ascertain an expression from a video clip as you can actually see things in context, identify the muscles moving in what order, and get the whole picture. Well, my simple answer is this; there certainly can be blended emotions. Sometimes after people have gone through the online micro expressions training there is a mindset of black and white, having the certainty that there must be only one answer – as that’s what the training says. However in reality this is not the case. Masking smiles for example – what are they masking / hiding? Someone is disgusted with a scene yet lets on a social smile, they are sad yet covering up to minimalise questions, or someone who is really angry yet trying to shake it off for the benefit of the people around them… Blended emotions are everywhere.
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