Emotional Intelligence

Are You Emotionally Intelligent ?

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After watching the video are you ready to test your skills ? 

If you want to take an Emotional Intelligence quiz from Greater Good:  The Science of a Meaningful Life click here.

Your Car May Soon Be Able to Tell When You Have Road Rage


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The science fiction novels that many of us read as children are turning into science fact with our fast-paced technologically advancing world.   A team of research scientists from the Swiss company EPFL  has developed a system that allows cars to detect their driver’s emotional states.  According to the company’s News Mediacom page, their aim is to lesson the effects of irritation and anger aka road rage on highways and city streets. Snap decisions made in hazy moments of anger can irrevocably alter the course of many people’s lives.

To help prevent instances of road rage, the EPFL adapted a facial detection device for use in a car, using an infrared camera placed behind the steering wheel. The camera’s sole responsibility is to pick up signs of a driver’s irritation. It is not clear on what actions if any would be taken short article did nto mention what would happen o the car if road rage is detected  A key issue with the development of this device is that everyone expresses irritation in different ways, and this wide array of expressions proves too complex for the device to detect reliably.

Hua Gao and Anil Yüce, the lead researchers of this EPFL project, chose to focus on only two emotions, anger and disgust, in order to simplify the project at this stage.  Hua Gao maintains that the ultimate goal of this project is to continue to update the device so that its detection abilities become more sophisticated. The ideal device would consist of “a self-taught human-machine interface, or a more advanced facial monitoring algorithm.”

This project is being coupled with the development of other automatic detector devices, such as a fatigue monitor that measures the percentage of eyelid closure as well as developing other tools that will be able to detect additional states such as distraction and  have vocal recognition technology as well.   These devices will prove useful in allowing driving to be a less negative and even less dangerous experience for drivers.

Would You Want These Facial Recognition Tools In Your Car?

Frozen Emotions


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A new study, commented on by The New York Times, lends even more evidence to the theory that regular botox injections can help treat depression.

Last year, we blogged about a study by Dr. Eric Finzi that suggested that onabotulinumtoxinA (commonly referred to as “Botox”) injected into the corrugator and procerus muscles (the frown muscles between the eyebrows) could alleviate symptoms of depression by inhibiting the face’s ability to display negative emotion such as a frown.

In his previous study, Dr. Finzi cited the “facial feedback hypothesis” first proposed by Charles Darwin and William James, which states that facial expressions of emotion can have a distinct influence on mood. Dr. Finzi took this idea one step further, and proposed a new model of “emotional proprioception”, wherein the brain continuously monitors the relative valence of facial expressions and that mood responds accordingly. If true, this could mean that unconscious facial expressions greatly affect how someone feels; by changing someone’s at-rest expression, mood can be drastically affected.

Dr Finzi first started researching the effects of botox on mood in 2006. His original report, published by  The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, was anecdotal and lacked sufficient sample size or control methods. Other researchers followed up on his research in 2011 with a study that confirmed his original findings.

Dr. Finzi’s most recent study, completed with the help of psychiatrist Dr. Normal Rosenthal, is the most comprehensive conducted on the subject, taking place over the course of 6 weeks and involving 69 participants.  You might think that patients would easily be able to tell whether they got the placebo or Botox.  However, it wasn’t so obvious; only 50% of the subjects getting Botox guessed correctly.  More important, knowing which treatment was received had no significant effect on treatment response.)

Interestingly, the study was solely funded by the Chevy Chase Cosmetic Center, a dermatology center specializing in cosmetic treatments, which Dr. Finzi owns. While Dr. Finzi’s results are fascinating, more confirmation by unbiased sources will likely be necessary before such treatments will be approved by the FDA.

Could this new study lead to an increase of the popularity of botox?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

21 Different Facial Expressions?

Facial Expression Image

Couretesy of dailymail.co.uk

It’s not new, news that humans have a great many different facial expressions.  It is also becoming more common knowledge that there are 7 universal facial expressions of emotion (anger, sadness, disgust, surprise, fear and happiness), which have been validated by  numerous research studies.

Mail Online has now reported that additional research, from Ohio State University, purports humans routinely and universally display  21 different facial expressions, of course this would include the 7 universal facial expressions as well as variations of them.  The researchers claim that these findings are 3 times as much as the long proven 7 universal facial expressions of emotion.

Lead researcher, Aleix Martinez, stated that his research goes beyond the research on universal facial expressions such as happy or sad.  230 volunteers were asked to depict 6 out of the 7 universal facial expressions of emotion. They were then asked to act out compound emotions after they were given time to practice making those compound emotions in a mirror.

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, noted that with higher than 90% accuracy individuals displayed the same facial expressions such as sadness and happiness, which has already been validated by previous research on the seven universal facial expressions of emotion.

The draw back to this new claim is that the facial expressions that are created are somewhat forced and not natural. Therefore, one cannot say for sure that the compound expressions each individual made (although possibly similar to the other volunteers) is what they would elicit in the real world without practice.

It is important to note that the research that validates the 7 universal facial expressions of emotion does not say that humans do not have any other facial expressions such as shyness or or any combination of the whole 7 universal facial expressions of emotions.

Dr. David Matsumoto, who has done extensive research in the field of facial expressions and FACS coding noted, I think by asking posers to create the expressions of the blended labels artificially forced them to create those faces.  I seriously doubt that people would produce exactly those faces in real life.  That’s one of the pitfalls of this area of research.  You can’t reverse engineer what people actually do in real life by asking them to pose what they think they would do.

With these findings the researchers hope to gain a better understanding of human emotions and in turn possibly help treat conditions such as autism and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as in the design of computerized aids for the disabled.

What are your thoughts on these new findings?

Emotions – Conscious Choices

Humintell wants to spread the love.

This short but inspiring video shows that as people we interact, express and feel emotions in a variety of ways.

A reminder that many of the emotions we encounter on a daily basis are a conscious choice.

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What Emotions Will You Experience Today?

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