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Can Computers Read Human Emotion Better Than Humans?

The New York Times’ Well blog reports on research that has shown that computers may be better than humans at detecting emotions in human facial expressions. In the study, published in Current Biology, participants either had their hands dipped in ice cold water, which caused an expression of true pain, or had their hands dipped in warm water and were told to fake an expression of pain. Observers were asked to determine which of the participants were in true pain. Results showed that while humans were correct about 50% of the time, a rate comparable to guessing, computers, using a software named computer expression recognition toolbox (CERT), were correct 85% of the time. “Although the same muscles were often engaged by fakers and those in real pain, the computer could detect speed, smoothness and duration of the muscle contractions that pointed toward or away from deception.”

Read it in The New York Times’ Well blog.

Take the pain quiz here.

Read the study in Current Biology.