Social Mood Conference | Socionomics Foundation
By Alan Hall | Excerpt from the January 2014 Socionomist

Originally published under the title “Here Come New Technologies for Detecting Social Mood”


[Ed: In Part 2 of this compelling video report (view Part 1 here), socionomist Alan Hall reviews emerging technologies that can detect human emotion through facial temperatures and expressions, chemical signals, and speech. This new data has significant implications for the measurement of social mood.

 Here is an excerpt of the January 2014 video transcript.]

Hot, Bothered, Blushing

Human bodies, especially faces, reveal emotion. No surprises there. But check this out. It’s more than your smile, frown or raised eyebrow that gives away your emotional state. Turns out your emotions also are written on your face’s temperature zones.

Apparently, facial temperature is unconsciously regulated. Therefore, try as you might, you cannot make your face cooler or warmer.

And much as brain scans display neural activity, extremely sensitive thermal face scans pick up temperature signals. Right now, researchers and others are using the scans to discern people’s emotions.…

A May 2012 paper in Biology Letters states,

A variety of affective states, such as aggression and emotional arousal, have been shown to elicit thermal responses in the face suggesting that skin temperature may be indicative of affective/emotional states. For example, fear has been shown to cause a rapid increase in temperature in the periorbital region …. specific thermal signatures may exist in relation to specific types of emotional arousal.

Facial Expressions

A January 2000 paper in Psychological Science demonstrated that people unconsciously transmit and receive emotions via facial expressions, which they tend to mimic:

Studies reveal that when people are exposed to emotional facial expressions, they spontaneously react with distinct facial electromyographic (EMG) reactions in emotion-relevant facial muscles. These reactions reflect, in part, a tendency to mimic the facial stimuli. We investigated whether corresponding facial reactions can be elicited when people are unconsciously exposed to happy and angry facial expressions.… Despite the fact that exposure to happy and angry faces was unconscious, the subjects reacted with distinct facial muscle reactions that corresponded to the happy and angry stimulus faces. Our results show that both positive and negative emotional reactions can be unconsciously revoked, and particularly that important aspects of emotional face-to-face communication can occur on an unconscious level.

In other words, mimicry is a manifestation of herding. People unconsciously mimic others’ facial expressions and thereby communicate emotion. This conclusion is compatible with socionomic theory.…


Watch Part 2 of the video report to learn how your pheromones and speech can communicate emotions such as fear and disgust, and what a new era of “Total Emotional Awareness” will mean for your city.

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