Researchers at the University of Bradford have now developed computer software that can spot real and fake facial expressions. By analyzing the movement of the smile across a person’s face, the software can determine the expressions.
The most significant movements detected by the software were around the eyes, supporting popular theories that a spontaneous, genuine smile is one that can be seen in a person’s eyes.
Hassan Ugail, Professor of Visual Computing at the University of Bradford, stated that “Techniques for analyzing human facial expressions have advanced dramatically in recent years, but distinguishing between genuine and posed smiles remains a challenge because humans are not good at picking up the relevant cues.”
The computer software works by first mapping a person’s face from within a video recording, and identifying the mouth, cheeks and eyes of the subject. It then measures how these facial features move through the progress of the smile and calculates the differences in movement between the video clips showing real and fake smiles.
Researchers tested the programme using two different datasets, one containing images of people expressing genuine smiles, and another in which the images portrayed posed smiles.
They found significant differences in the way the subjects’ mouths and cheeks moved when comparing the real and the fake expressions. The movements around the subjects’ eyes, however, showed the most striking variation, with genuine smiles generating at least 10 per cent more movement in these muscles.