Can you detect someone’s emo­tional state just by looking at his face?

It sure seems like it. In everyday life, you can often “read” what someone is feeling with the quickest of glances. Hun­dreds of sci­en­tific studies sup­port the idea that the face is a kind of emo­tional beacon, clearly and uni­ver­sally sig­naling the full array of human sen­ti­ments, from fear and anger to joy and surprise.

Increas­ingly, com­pa­nies like Apple and gov­ern­ment agen­cies like the Trans­porta­tion Secu­rity Admin­is­tra­tion are banking on this trans­parency, devel­oping soft­ware to iden­tify con­sumers’ moods or training pro­grams to gauge the intent of air­line pas­sen­gers. The same assump­tion is at work in the field of mental health, where ill­nesses like autism and schiz­o­phrenia are often treated in part by training patients to dis­tin­guish emo­tions by facial expression.

Read the article at The New York Times →