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Julien Couvreur's programming blog and more

Reading facial expressions


Facial Action Coding System
Last week-end I watched a few episodes of Lie to me on Hulu. It's a detective show with a focus on the science of expressions. It is a good watch so far, with strong acting by Tim Roth and Kelli Williams (Lindsay in "The Practice"). We will have to see how the show maintains interest long-term (the pattern may not bear that much repetition).

As I suspected, the science behind the show is based on Paul Ekman's research on micro-expressions.
It shows that emotions surface in ways that are both unconscious and hard to control, and surprisingly universal across cultures. Ekman uses detailed micro-expression analysis on recorded video to understand the tell-tales of liars and at-risk marriages.
He comments on each episode on this "Lie to me" blog.

Another cool thing, Ekman's Facial Action Coding System is also the framework behind Benjamin Button's computer generated face.


Hi, It's really nice to read comments about "Lie to me" here on your blog. Basically It really is a nice series. I mean it feels good when you learn some thing new about expressions... each time some one points at expressions in episodes...and you say Ahh!! that's really the way we usually do in our daily life.... :)

Posted by: Bilal Farooq Ahmad (March 26, 2009 07:28 AM) ______________________________________

It seems that different nationalities have more semblances than I thought before!

Posted by: Andrey (April 28, 2009 02:50 AM) ______________________________________

I got 16 out of 20 on the "Spot the Fake Smile" test. I think your first gut reaction is best. The ones I thought about too much are the ones I got wrong. In an actual interaction I think our emotion towards the other person might really cloud the issue too. I'm with your husband though and recognize that some people I know don't seem very genuine in there interactions. The eyes definitely give it away.

Cool and nice blog. Great work!

Posted by: engagement rings (May 4, 2009 10:12 PM) ______________________________________

Julien, you have right, the framework behind Benjamin Button's computer generated face is a really fantastic thing.
Greets Bayerischer Wald

Posted by: Bayerischer Wald (May 19, 2009 12:32 PM) ______________________________________

The Insides on the making of BB are quite cool but unfortionately the streaming on the "lie to me" - blog isn´t working outside the US.. :(

Posted by: Tobi (May 20, 2009 05:46 PM) ______________________________________

It seems I already want to see this serial. :) This post about reading faces is enough alluring.

Posted by: John Deere (May 22, 2009 05:34 AM) ______________________________________

Thank for the tips. I don´t think I can see this Tv series from Europe. But I find very interesting this topic of micorexpressions and Ekman´s work. Didn´t know anything about it..

Posted by: Ester Schuhe (August 7, 2009 02:02 AM) ______________________________________

I adore Eckman! I was really fascinated by his theory of emblematic slips (especially his test with the nurses).

Posted by: Peter Jacken (September 12, 2009 08:09 AM) ______________________________________

At work I never really kept an eye on the facial expressions of my colleagues, when working together with them. Thanks for the information.

Posted by: Swoopo Gutschein (October 19, 2009 06:20 AM) ______________________________________

I often look at the faces of my colleagues. It is quite funny to guess what they may think when the look at someone.

Posted by: Doktor Fussball (October 21, 2009 12:33 PM) ______________________________________

How to get these Hulu series in Germany?

Posted by: Klaus Flug (October 26, 2009 03:52 PM) ______________________________________

RE: How to get these Hulu series in Germany?

Just via Proxy.

Posted by: Basti (October 28, 2009 02:56 AM) ______________________________________

I hope to see "Lie to me" on German Pay-TV soon

Posted by: Fulfillment (November 17, 2009 05:26 AM) ______________________________________

Hey Julien,
very interesting, but I searched this TV-Show in German. My english is not so good, so I didn´t understand the episodes in english...LOL...
So I wait 2 years and then the show came to germany...
King Regarts

Posted by: Weight Gainer Joe (November 21, 2009 03:47 AM)
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