Emotion categorization of body expressions in narrative scenarios

Ekaterina P. Volkova, Betty J. Mohler, Trevor J. Dodds, Joachim Tesch, Heinrich Bulthoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Humans can recognize emotions expressed through body motion with high accuracy even when the stimuli are impoverished. However, most of the research on body motion has relied on exaggerated displays of emotions. In this paper we present two experiments where we investigated whether emotional body expressions could be recognized when they were recorded during natural narration. Our actors were free to use their entire body, face, and voice to express emotions, but our resulting visual stimuli used only the upper body motion trajectories in the form of animated stick figures. Observers were asked to perform an emotion recognition task on short motion sequences using a large and balanced set of emotions (amusement, joy, pride, relief, surprise, anger, disgust, fear, sadness, shame, and neutral). Even with only upper body motion available, our results show recognition accuracy significantly above chance level and high consistency rates among observers. In our first experiment, that used more classic emotion induction setup, all emotions were well recognized. In the second study that employed narrations, four basic emotion categories (joy, anger, fear, and sadness), three non-basic emotion categories (amusement, pride, and shame) and the "neutral" category were recognized above chance. Interestingly, especially in the second experiment, observers showed a bias toward anger when recognizing the motion sequences for emotions. We discovered that similarities between motion sequences across the emotions along such properties as mean motion speed, number of peaks in the motion trajectory and mean motion span can explain a large percent of the variation in observers' responses. Overall, our results show that upper body motion is informative for emotion recognition in narrative scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Article number623
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume5
Issue numberJUN
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan 1

Fingerprint

Emotions
Anger
Narration
Shame
Fear
Expressed Emotion
Observer Variation
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Emotion categorization of body expressions in narrative scenarios. / Volkova, Ekaterina P.; Mohler, Betty J.; Dodds, Trevor J.; Tesch, Joachim; Bulthoff, Heinrich.

In: Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 5, No. JUN, 623, 01.01.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Volkova, Ekaterina P. ; Mohler, Betty J. ; Dodds, Trevor J. ; Tesch, Joachim ; Bulthoff, Heinrich. / Emotion categorization of body expressions in narrative scenarios. In: Frontiers in Psychology. 2014 ; Vol. 5, No. JUN.
@article{9e4c4616f5f244d19249d9611d38ba74,
title = "Emotion categorization of body expressions in narrative scenarios",
abstract = "Humans can recognize emotions expressed through body motion with high accuracy even when the stimuli are impoverished. However, most of the research on body motion has relied on exaggerated displays of emotions. In this paper we present two experiments where we investigated whether emotional body expressions could be recognized when they were recorded during natural narration. Our actors were free to use their entire body, face, and voice to express emotions, but our resulting visual stimuli used only the upper body motion trajectories in the form of animated stick figures. Observers were asked to perform an emotion recognition task on short motion sequences using a large and balanced set of emotions (amusement, joy, pride, relief, surprise, anger, disgust, fear, sadness, shame, and neutral). Even with only upper body motion available, our results show recognition accuracy significantly above chance level and high consistency rates among observers. In our first experiment, that used more classic emotion induction setup, all emotions were well recognized. In the second study that employed narrations, four basic emotion categories (joy, anger, fear, and sadness), three non-basic emotion categories (amusement, pride, and shame) and the {"}neutral{"} category were recognized above chance. Interestingly, especially in the second experiment, observers showed a bias toward anger when recognizing the motion sequences for emotions. We discovered that similarities between motion sequences across the emotions along such properties as mean motion speed, number of peaks in the motion trajectory and mean motion span can explain a large percent of the variation in observers' responses. Overall, our results show that upper body motion is informative for emotion recognition in narrative scenarios.",
keywords = "Animation, Biological motion, Emotion perception, Emotional body expression, Motion capture",
author = "Volkova, {Ekaterina P.} and Mohler, {Betty J.} and Dodds, {Trevor J.} and Joachim Tesch and Heinrich Bulthoff",
year = "2014",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00623",
language = "English",
volume = "5",
journal = "Frontiers in Psychology",
issn = "1664-1078",
publisher = "Frontiers Research Foundation",
number = "JUN",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Emotion categorization of body expressions in narrative scenarios

AU - Volkova, Ekaterina P.

AU - Mohler, Betty J.

AU - Dodds, Trevor J.

AU - Tesch, Joachim

AU - Bulthoff, Heinrich

PY - 2014/1/1

Y1 - 2014/1/1

N2 - Humans can recognize emotions expressed through body motion with high accuracy even when the stimuli are impoverished. However, most of the research on body motion has relied on exaggerated displays of emotions. In this paper we present two experiments where we investigated whether emotional body expressions could be recognized when they were recorded during natural narration. Our actors were free to use their entire body, face, and voice to express emotions, but our resulting visual stimuli used only the upper body motion trajectories in the form of animated stick figures. Observers were asked to perform an emotion recognition task on short motion sequences using a large and balanced set of emotions (amusement, joy, pride, relief, surprise, anger, disgust, fear, sadness, shame, and neutral). Even with only upper body motion available, our results show recognition accuracy significantly above chance level and high consistency rates among observers. In our first experiment, that used more classic emotion induction setup, all emotions were well recognized. In the second study that employed narrations, four basic emotion categories (joy, anger, fear, and sadness), three non-basic emotion categories (amusement, pride, and shame) and the "neutral" category were recognized above chance. Interestingly, especially in the second experiment, observers showed a bias toward anger when recognizing the motion sequences for emotions. We discovered that similarities between motion sequences across the emotions along such properties as mean motion speed, number of peaks in the motion trajectory and mean motion span can explain a large percent of the variation in observers' responses. Overall, our results show that upper body motion is informative for emotion recognition in narrative scenarios.

AB - Humans can recognize emotions expressed through body motion with high accuracy even when the stimuli are impoverished. However, most of the research on body motion has relied on exaggerated displays of emotions. In this paper we present two experiments where we investigated whether emotional body expressions could be recognized when they were recorded during natural narration. Our actors were free to use their entire body, face, and voice to express emotions, but our resulting visual stimuli used only the upper body motion trajectories in the form of animated stick figures. Observers were asked to perform an emotion recognition task on short motion sequences using a large and balanced set of emotions (amusement, joy, pride, relief, surprise, anger, disgust, fear, sadness, shame, and neutral). Even with only upper body motion available, our results show recognition accuracy significantly above chance level and high consistency rates among observers. In our first experiment, that used more classic emotion induction setup, all emotions were well recognized. In the second study that employed narrations, four basic emotion categories (joy, anger, fear, and sadness), three non-basic emotion categories (amusement, pride, and shame) and the "neutral" category were recognized above chance. Interestingly, especially in the second experiment, observers showed a bias toward anger when recognizing the motion sequences for emotions. We discovered that similarities between motion sequences across the emotions along such properties as mean motion speed, number of peaks in the motion trajectory and mean motion span can explain a large percent of the variation in observers' responses. Overall, our results show that upper body motion is informative for emotion recognition in narrative scenarios.

KW - Animation

KW - Biological motion

KW - Emotion perception

KW - Emotional body expression

KW - Motion capture

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84904538292&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84904538292&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00623

DO - 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00623

M3 - Article

VL - 5

JO - Frontiers in Psychology

JF - Frontiers in Psychology

SN - 1664-1078

IS - JUN

M1 - 623

ER -