Determining Facial Expressions from a Distances by Jacqueline Arellano

For this blog project assignment, I’ve chosen a research article titled, “Smile Through Your Fear and Sadness. Transmitting and Identifying Facial Expressions Signals Over a Range of Viewing Distances” written by Fraser W. Smith and Philippe G. Schyns.  We as people recognize six categories of facial expressions, in which are happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, anger and surprise.  We’ve expressed these some time or another in our everyday lives.  Our facial expressions tell others on how we are feeling or also, fool those who may think what we are feeling.  
“Facial expressions, like all visual signals, are analyzed in the brain by a number spatial-frequencey channels.” (Smith & Schyns, 2009) The two recognition that Smith & Scyhns are focusing on are the proximal and distal distances.  So what Smith and Scyhns did with their experiment was two things, first, they wanted to characterize the six expressions of emotions from the signals of our facial features.  They use to analyze these signals with two alternative forced-chose expression experiment.  As for the second part of the experiment they wanted to predict the expressions of people through pictures, but from viewing them from different distances and as well as using the 7AFC.   They had six Glasgow University students partake in this experiment in which there were 2 males and 4 females. Their prediction was that they “designated happiness, surprise, disgust and anger as distal and fear, neutral, and sadness as proximal” due to the spatial-frequency (SF) channels that are analyzed in the brain. (Smith & Scyhns, 2009) They manipulated the images and as well as the distance to see if they would end up with the same results from their earlier prediction.  The results of the prediction for the proximal and distal expression agreed with the data that they did on the students. 
From our readings of our chapters and this current research article they both explain on how that our facial expressions play a vital role in our lives. “In a landmark book, Darwin (1872) argued that facial expressions of emotion are innate, inherited, and therefore universal.” (Burgoon, Guerro &Floyd, 2010) As mentioned in the article they are “recognized across different cultures (Ekman & Friesen, 1975; Izard, 1994)” (Smith & Schyns, 2009)
As for my personal reaction from the reasearch, I was pretty impressed on how detail the research was.  I never really thought deeply about how our facial expressions are just like our neighbors or a person who is completely across the world.  We really do share something in common in which is our facial expressions.  One of my findings in the article that I found was that ‘”fear” is one of the greatest of the facial expressions that the neruo-imagining community, in relation to its adaptive value” ( Smith & Schyns, 2009)  The reason behind the such great interest is due to the stimuli that is being processed in the brain.  I enjoyed this research topic very much.  We all share happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, anger and surprise and we all have seen it on someones face some day or another. 


Smith, F. W., & Schyns, P. G. (2009). Smile Through Your Fear and Sadness. Psychological Science (Wiley-Blackwell)20(10), 1202-1208. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02427.x

Burgoon, J., Guerrero, L., & Floyd, K. (2010). Nonverbal communication. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc..

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