Facial Information Processing: A multidisciplinary perspective
  • ISSN 0929-0907
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9943
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This paper points out that a major shift of paradigm is currently going on in the study of the human face and it seeks to articulate and to develop the fundamental assumptions underlying this shift. The main theses of the paper are: 1) Facial expressions can convey meanings comparable to the meanings of verbal utterances. 2) Semantic analysis (whether of verbal utterances or of facial expressions) must distinguish between the context-independent invariant and its contextual interpretations. 3) Certain components of facial behavior (“facial gestures”) do have constant context-independent meanings. 4) The meanings of facial components and configurations of components have an inherent first-person and present tense orientation. 5) The basis for the interpretation of facial gestures is, above all, experiential. 6) The meanings of some facial expressions are universally intelligible and can be interpreted without reference to any local conventions. 7) To be fruitful, the semantic analysis of facial expressions needs a methodology. This can be derived from the methodological experience of linguistic semantics. The author illustrates and supports these theses by analyzing a range of universally interpretable facial expressions such as the following ones: “brow furrowed” (i.e. eyebrows drawn together); eyebrows raised; eyes wide open; corners of the mouth raised; corners of the mouth lowered; mouth open (while not speaking); lips pressed together; upper lip and nose “raised” (and, consequently, nose wrinkled).


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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