Researchers at The Ohio State University have successfully been able to use the latest computer software to map 21 different human emotional states, a number which is considerably beyond documented human expressions.
The latest computational model will help psychologists diagnose and treat an array of mental problems ranging from Down’s syndrome to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Commenting on the progress made in this regard, Ohio State University’s Dr. Aleix Martinez said, "We've gone beyond facial expressions for simple emotions like happy or sad. We found a strong consistency in how people move their facial muscles to express twenty-one categories of emotions.” He further added, "That is simply stunning. That tells us that these twenty-one emotions are expressed in the same way by nearly everyone, at least in our culture."
Cognitive sciences research, nowadays, aims to link facial expressions to emotions. This in turn, will help researchers pinpoint the genetic and chemical pathways that govern emotions in our brains.
The research, documented in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was carried out by Ohio researchers. They photographed the responses of 230 volunteers, resulting in 5000 images. These images were then used to study the prominent features of varying facial expressions.
Consequently, a list of twenty-one human emotions was compiled. It included six basic emotions: happy, sad, fearful, angry, surprised and disgusted, whereas other ‘compound’ emotions ranged from happily surprised to fearfully disgusted.