Friday, 17 Apr, 2009 Technology
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Technology to Study the Spread of Emotions

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Scientists confirmed that when you're surrounded by smiling, happy people then it is likely that you will feel happy as well. However, scientists know little about how emotions are transmitted from one person to another.

Artist Tina Gonsalves, who is currently working at the MIT Media Lab, teamed up with neuroscientists to work on the Chameleon Project, which could bring light on the mystery of how emotions spread.

The project involves the use of face recognition software that studies an individual's expression as they enter into a room and illustrates a video portrait of another individual that shows a similar emotion.

To be able to create the software, neuroscientist Chris Frith from University College London came up with an algorithm that tries to read and react to a person's emotions just like another person would. It is worth mentioning that the algorithm builds on study that implies that when a person interacts with another person, they attempt to achieve a neutral state so that their communication could take place easier, report New Scientist.

Previous studies found that people tend to copy the face expression of a person that feels happy or scared, but at the same time they try to quiet down an angry person.

The Chameleon Project is expected to give neuroscientists new information on how people react to emotions that were studied the least, like anger. In addition, this technology could be helpful in empathy research. For instance, it could study the way people suffering from autism and schizophrenia react to the emotions of those who surround them.

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