After over two years of weekly and biweekly conference calls reviewing over 1000 papers with Lisa Feldman Barrett, Aleix Martinez, Ralph Adolphs and Stacy Marsella our paper is finally out this morning!
Software that purportedly reads emotions in faces is being deployed or tested for a variety of purposes, including surveillance, hiring, clinical diagnosis, and market research. But our new report finds that facial movements are an inexact gauge of a person’s feelings, behaviors or intentions.
The report’s conclusions have broad implications, according to the authorship team. The FBI and the Transportation Security Administration have trained agents in the past to assess smiling, scowling and other facial movements to identify and stop potential terrorists. Law enforcement agencies in the United States and Europe are now experimenting with technologies designed to automate emotion detection through facial scans. Some companies are experimenting with software to track the facial movements of job applicants during interviews. Such technology might be able to detect facial movements, but they do not detect the psychological meaning of those facial movements. We thought this was an especially important issue to address because of the way so-called ‘facial expressions’ are being used in industry, educational and medical settings, and in national security.