Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chimpanzee Facial Expressions Are Helping Researchers Understand Human Communication

Date:
March 26, 2007
Source:
Emory University
Summary:
Behavioral researchers have found understanding chimpanzee facial expressions requires more attention to detail than researchers initially thought. Correctly interpreting the subtleties within chimpanzees' facial expressions may be key to understanding the evolution of human emotional communication.

Using the Chimpanzee Facial Action Coding System (Chimp FACS), the chimpanzees in the study observed anatomically correct 3D animations of chimpanzee facial expressions and then were asked to match the similar ones.
Credit: Yerkes National Primate Research Center

Behavioral researchers led by Lisa Parr, PhD, director of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center Cognitive Testing Facility and Chimpanzee Core, have found understanding chimpanzee facial expressions requires more attention to detail than researchers initially thought. Correctly interpreting the subtleties within chimpanzees' facial expressions may be key to understanding the evolution of human emotional communication.

According to Parr, "This discovery is an important step to help researchers recognize facial movements and understand why they are important. While some expressions, such as a playful look, can be identified using a single feature, other expressions, such as when a chimp bares his teeth, require looking at numerous characteristics within the face, including the eyes and lips."

This is similar to what researchers see in human emotional expressions. "Sometimes it's easy to read what people are feeling, but at other times, we have to look at multiple places on their faces. Ultimately, we want to better understand what people are feeling and expressing emotionally because it helps us empathize with one another," Parr continued.

To facilitate her studies, Parr developed the Chimpanzee Facial Action Coding System (Chimp FACS) to directly compare documented expressions of humans and chimpanzees. Using Chimp FACS, the chimpanzees in the study observed anatomically correct 3D animations of chimpanzee facial expressions and then were asked to match the similar ones. "After the chimpanzees matched similar images, we separated individual features of the original animated expression, such as a raised brow, by frame and pieced the frames back together to create a variation of the original expression. The chimpanzees then were asked to match the new expression to the original one. This is how we determined when the chimpanzees were using a single feature or if they needed more than one feature to match the similar expressions," said Sheila Sterk, a senior animal behavior management specialist on Parr's team.

Parr will present this new data at the upcoming "Mind of the Chimpanzee" conference, an international multidisciplinary conference on chimpanzee cognition being held March 22-25 at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Emory University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Emory University. "Chimpanzee Facial Expressions Are Helping Researchers Understand Human Communication." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070324125108.htm>.
Emory University. (2007, March 26). Chimpanzee Facial Expressions Are Helping Researchers Understand Human Communication. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070324125108.htm
Emory University. "Chimpanzee Facial Expressions Are Helping Researchers Understand Human Communication." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070324125108.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins