Monday, May 14, 2012

Body Language, Micro expressions, Eye contact

I found while I was looking for something awesome to post a couple of blog posts from John Suler, and before you ask about it no, he is not an Animator, in matter of fact he is a photographer. You could ask why have I put up links to this, I will tell you that in fact a Photographer's work is much harder that being an animator. Just think of taking your own work squashing it into a one Frame and then expressing what you wanted to say... it's hard right??

But he had some good posts on:
Body languageVisualizing and Verbalizing, Eye to Eye (please note that you usually don't get a animated character to make contact to a viewer), Facial Asymmetry and "Character, Micro expressions, S lines and Psychological lines

And before you leave to have your cup of coffee, here is some really interesting Q.A. from Richard Davidson taken from The "Salon" interviewed on Emotions and how that affects the brain, his book “The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live, and How You Can Change Them,” .

There’s been stigma around the study of emotion in the past. Some people still frame emotion as pointless metaphysical leftovers that result from physiological processes. I think that your work has really come to show that that’s not true. In your view, what are the evolutionary and practical purposes of emotion and does it have intrinsic value?
I think that emotions are such an important part of our experience and behavior.. They came about over the course of evolution for a reason; to promote survival — to facilitate the adaptation of organisms to their environment. Emotions evolved to solve specific kinds of problems that arose over the course of our history. They wouldn’t be such a robust part of our experience if they didn’t have this deep evolutionary origin. Having said that, it’s also the case that we now live in an environment that is vastly different from our evolutionary origins. So some of the emotions that played a very important role in our past can be maladaptive when they are triggered in response to stimuli in our current environment. This is why developing strategies to better regulate our emotions may be particularly important for us now.
In the beginning of the book you lay out a theory that each of us has a certain unique Emotional Style, split up into six components. What are these six emotional dimensions?
One is Resilience, which refers to how quickly or slowly you recover from adversity. The second is Outlook; the duration that a person’s positive emotion persists. Then there is Context, and that is the extent to which we modulate our emotional responses in a context-appropriate way. So for example, when we are with our boss we know that it’s not permissible to discuss the same topics we might discuss with our spouse. That’s called context modulation. The fourth is Social Intuition, the sensitivity to social cues, the extent to which a person is sensitive to facial expressions or vocal expressions. The fifth is Self Awareness, the extent to which a person is aware of signals within their own body, which are important to emotion. Finally, Attention, how focused or scattered you are. Attention isn’t often thought of as part of emotional style, yet our work indicates that it significantly contributes to a person’s emotional makeup. Is your attention easily pulled by stimuli in the environment or are you able to more skillfully focus your attention on what it is you wish to attend to.
Another study that I found really interesting and amusing involved women who had recently had cosmetic Botox injections. How did the results speak to this mind-body connection?
That’s a great example. Beginning with Darwin’s book in 1892, “The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals” we have known that facial expressions are very important for emotion, and recent theories suggest that facial expressions provide feedback to the brain and influence the emotional state of a person through that feedback. It suggests that if we eliminate feedback, as Botox does, we deprive the brain of certain signals that it uses to determine one’s own emotional state. The women in our study were getting Botox in the muscle just above the eyebrow, temporarily paralyzing it. That particular muscle is used in frowning and several different negative emotions. What we found is that Botox injections actually impaired their capacity to perceive negative emotion when they read negative sentences, and this suggests that we use our bodies to help decode the emotions of others by subtly simulating their emotions and mirroring their emotional state with mini-facial expressions of our own. If we can’t make those facial expressions because our face is paralyzed, then our ability to understand their emotional state is impaired.

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