Con-artists, deceivers, and fakers take note: feigning emotion to manipulate others is about to get a lot harder. Researchers at the MIT Media Lab have developed software that can differentiate between a genuinely delighted smile and one born from frustration. It turns out that the majority of people unknowingly smile to cope with frustration, and others may interpret those smiles as genuine. But what’s the real difference?
By analyzing video, the researchers discovered it’s all in the timing: genuine smiles develop gradually, but frustrated smiles emerge rapidly and dissipate fast. In the study, humans and computers were equally capable of identifying genuine smiles, but when it came to frustrated smiling, people misread the coping smile half the time whereas the algorithm correctly identified the smile with 92 percent accuracy.
The motive behind the research is to help individuals who have difficulty interpreting face-to-face communication, such as those on the autistic spectrum, but the research also has some profound implications for artificial intelligence...