Facial Expressions and Emoticons

Do you prefer to use your face expression showing as emoticons?  I don’t think I would.  I personal like the combination of the alphabets, rather than the yellow head though because it is sort of more creative and imaginary.  Although there are some limitations that textual emoticon could not imitate all our expressions.  But well, does it convey your expressions well enough?

A group of researchers in England try to find a way to use real facial emoticon.

A user first uploads a picture of their face with a “neutral” expression. Then they use their mouse to mark the ends of their eyebrows, the corners of their mouth and the edges of their eyes and lips.

The software uses these points to morph the face to express different emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust. A user can select an emotion and one of three intensity levels when using the system.

They tested the software and found that only 60% of the time people recognize what is it mean.  They believe it is “high enough” for internet chat.  Hmm I do not think 60% is acceptable in terms of effectiveness of communication though.  Also I would guess that the effectiveness of communication (measured by the misunderstanding) by textual and mr.yellowhead emoticons would higher than that one that you have to guess all the time.  If so, why we have to use the one that would not increase the probability of communication success?

My observation was directly about how people express their face.  Talking about our facial expression, I sometimes do not realize that my facial expression is that obvious to other people, or even myself.  When I talk, I just let it go as I feel and it should be.  I have never planned ahead before what expression should I use today.  Well obviously, I have never used mirror when I use my face for expression to see what my face looks like, do you?  Also facial expression is quite individual and very subjective.  I don’t think I smile the same way everything, although I have a same degree of happiness.

Anyway, for many times I use :), I do not have smile on my face at all.  Sometimes I use it because I think it build a good rhetoric environment rather than telling what I am feeling right now.  For example, when the conversation pauses, I use emoticons to break the silence.  I also saw a number of people using emoticons in a situation where people do not use any facial expression in face-to-face communication.  Interestingly when I have a video conferences (with no audio), it is kind of awkward somehow when we see people on the other side use different kinds of emoticons in the textbox but their facial expression is totally neutral or even in the opposite expression.  They might only focus on typing and forget that the other person still watch their faces which sometimes I am wonder if that they feel or not.

Hmm I think it might be interesting to see the way people use emoticons correlating with their actual facial expressions and their actual emotions.  Well if you know any reference, please let me know.  I bet there are a number of people interested in this aspect of technology.

One response to “Facial Expressions and Emoticons

  1. Pingback: Neutral Look To Be Official « iTeau’s Dirt·


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