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The development of a comprehensive coding scheme for facial expressions of sadness

Kleinfeld, J. (2014) The development of a comprehensive coding scheme for facial expressions of sadness.

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Abstract:Objectives - Sadness is one of the most elementary emotions humans can feel. The experience of this emotion is often reflected in facial expressions which portray sadness in a non-verbal way. Research on non-verbal facial expressions of emotion and former coding schemes strongly focus on facial muscle movements as relevant for the recognition of expressions, but sadness knows also other modes of expression that are not solely based on muscle movements. The present study aimed to develop a comprehensive and reliable coding scheme for non-verbal facial expressions of sadness that supplements former coding schemes by addressing also more subtle forms of expression that are not solely based on muscle movements. Furthermore this study investigated how the different forms are distributed in and between individual persons, as well as between women and men, and different age-groups. It was expected that women will show sadness more often and more intense forms than men and that older people will show sadness more often than younger ones. Method – By means of a previous literature study and subsequent observations of two analysts of sadness in a digital collection of oral history interviews (N=12) addressing war and violence in Croatia different forms of non-verbal facial expressions could be distinguished. Inclusion and exclusion criteria of the different forms, constituting the coding scheme were established and refined in three observation phases. Calculations of frequencies, means per minutes, and standard deviations provide information about the differences in expression in and between individuals, and between men and women, and different age-groups. Results – Five different forms of non-verbal facial expressions of sadness could be distinguished, idle glance, inner eyebrow raiser, intense inner eyebrow raiser and lip corner depressor, tearful eyes, and weeping. The different forms of expressions with their accompanying inclusion and exclusion criteria were compiled into a coding scheme and a decision tree. Besides variation in expressing sadness in and between individual persons, it was found that women showed more intense forms than men. Furthermore older persons showed more intense inner eyebrow raisers and lip corner depressors than younger persons while younger persons showed more weeping than older ones. Conclusion – The developed comprehensive coding scheme and decision tree are important innovations in the research field of non-verbal emotion expression, providing reliable tools for the detection of and differentiating between various forms of non-verbal facial expressions of sadness. Discussion – Differences in the expression in and between individuals, as well as between women and men, and different age-groups are discussed. Moreover several avenues for further research on the non-verbal facial expression of sadness are considered.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/66976
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