We are `talking` heads indeed

Washington D.C, Oct 28 : Let your head do the talking as a recent study has revealed that our head movements play an important role in conveying emotions through speech and music.

When people talk or sing, they often nod, tilt or bow their heads to reinforce verbal messages. These head gestures are very effective at conveying emotions, according to researchers from McGill University in Montreal.

Steven R. Livingstone and Caroline Palmer, from McGill’s Department of Psychology, found that people were highly accurate at judging emotions based on head movements alone, even in the absence of sound or facial expressions.

This finding suggests that visual information about emotional states available in head movements could aid in the development of automated emotion recognition systems or human-interaction robots, the researchers say.

Expressive robots could potentially serve a range of functions, particularly where face-to-face communication is important, such as at hotel reception desks and as interactive care robots for the elderly.

Researchers found that when people talk, the ways in which they move their head reveal the emotions that they’re expressing. They also found that people are remarkably accurate at identifying a speaker’s emotion, just by seeing their head movements, says Palmer.

Palmer adds, “Our discovery may lead to new applications in situations where sound is not available, such as automated recognition of emotional states in crowd behavior or in hearing impairments, by making use of head movements when watching someone talk. It also has applications in computing and robotics, where the addition of expressive head movements may help make humanoid robots more lifelike and approachable.”

The study appears in Emotion. (ANI)