Facial expression analysis

Facial expressions and emotions

Emotions are an important aspect of human life. They instinctively influence our behaviors and decisions. Our face is often the best indicator for this, as our facial expressions convey emotions without saying a word and can be observed by others. Facial expressions are created with the help of muscle movements beneath the skin of the face. For researchers emotions are fundamental in understanding human behavior, as they are a crucial part in non-verbal communication and a rich source of social signals. Facial expression analysis and emotion data provides crucial insights that allow researchers to gain insight in complex human behaviors in greater depth.

Facial expression analysis with FaceReader

Facial expression analysis with FaceReader

FaceReader is the most robust automated system for the recognition of a number of specific properties in facial images, including the six basic or universal expressions: happy, sad, angry, surprised, scared, and disgusted. Paul Ekman described these emotional categories as the basic or universal emotions. Additionally, FaceReader can recognize a 'neutral' state and analyze 'contempt'. It also calculates Action Units, valence, arousal, gaze direction, head orientation, and personal characteristics such as gender and age.


Measure emotions accurately

FaceReader software is fast, flexible, accurate, and easy to use. It immediately analyzes your data (live, video, or still images), saving valuable time. The option to record audio as well as video makes it possible to hear what people have been saying – for example, during human-computer interactions, or while watching stimuli.

FaceReader is used at over 1,000 sites worldwide. FaceReader 8 scores between 91% and 100%, depending on which emotion is measured, when comparing FaceReader outcomes with the facial expressions scored manually by the professional annotators.

Facial expression analysis with FaceReader

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Classifying facial expressions

FaceReader’s main output is a classification of the facial expressions of your test participant. These results are visualized in several different charts such as line and/or bar graphs, or pie charts, which shows the percentage per emotion.

This video shows the realtime modeling capabilities of FaceReader. Based on the model, FaceReader can classify facial expressions, action units, the level or arousal and the valence of the expressions can be visualized in the Circumplex model.


Circumplex model of affect

The circumplex model of affect describes the distribution of emotions in a 2D circular space, containing arousal and valence dimensions. FaceReader offers a real-time representation of this model with the horizontal axis representing the valence dimension (pleasant - unpleasant) and the vertical axis representing the arousal dimension (active - inactive). 

Facial expressions automatically measured with FaceReader can be represented at any level of valence and arousal. Circumplex models are commonly used to assess liking in marketing, consumer science, and psychology (Russell, J. A. (1980). A circumplex model of affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39 (6), 1161).


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FaceReader Methodology

FaceReader can detect facial expressions, and offers a number of extra classifications. Do you want to learn more about how FaceReader works? Read on!

Best practices FaceReader Online

Do you want to know how online facial expression analysis service FaceReader Online can benefit your UX and market research? Read on!

How to build an AV-Lab

An AudioVisual lab is designed to allow you to observe your test participants unobtrusively. Do you want to learn more how to set up an AV-lab? Read on!


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FaceReader SDK or API

Need to easily integrate facial expression analysis into other applications? Using the FaceReader SDK is the perfect solution. The SDK is available for Windows and Android, and can run on your PC or server. For cloud-based analysis, a FaceReader Web API is available. Additionally, a FaceReader Application Programming Interface (API) has been developed to serve as an interface between your software, and to facilitate integration with the standard FaceReader for Windows software.


FaceReader Demonstration

Curious what emotions your own face shows? In this online demo the facial expression of a person is automatically extracted from a single picture. Additionally, FaceReader is capable of extracting some personal characteristics, like gender, facial hair, an age indication and whether a person is wearing glasses or not. This online demonstration lets you analyze images containing a face, by entering an URL or uploading a file.