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Algorithms Determine Mona Lisa's True Emotions 349

caffeinemessiah writes "The BBC reports that researchers at UIUC and the University of Amsterdam, Holland have used "emotion recognition" software to determine Mona Lisa's true emotions. The algorithm is based on a library of neutral face images of young women and determined that Mona Lisa was 83% happy and 9% disgusted." From the article: "The program, developed with researchers at the University of Illinois, US, draws on a database of young female faces to derive an average 'neutral' expression. The software uses this average expression as the standard for comparisons. The New Scientist says that software capable of recognising emotions just by looking at photographs could lead to PCs that adjust their response depending on the user's mood. "
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Algorithms Determine Mona Lisa's True Emotions

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  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @01:15PM (#14272591) Homepage
    This of course assumes that DaVinci captured her exact expression... Chances are that the painting just developed that way. Anyone who does art by hand knows that it's not a photograph and that the painting more or less takes on it's own personality as it's being created.

    If it were a photo then yes I'd be more apt to accept an algorythmic interpretation of the image.. but paintings take time and it's doubtful that a person feels the exact same way over the course of days or weeks or even months it took for this painting to be completed.
  • Re:Thank you (Score:3, Interesting)

    by headkase ( 533448 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @01:21PM (#14272642)
    I know what you mean but, every human subjective feeling is quantified in a way. A measure of brain activity will if accurate enough always provide a bridge from the qualitative feeling to a readout of quantitative measure. I'm contrasting the logic of the brain with the physical mechanism. And with that said I still agree with you.
  • Longshot question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ZachPruckowski ( 918562 ) <> on Friday December 16, 2005 @01:33PM (#14272755)
    Is there a chance the facial images have changed over the 1000-1500 years or whatever? I mean, obviously they wouldn't change much, but maybe a little?

    More importantly, are we sure da Vinci had regular access to girl's faces? I mean, it was probably mostly guesswork on his part.
  • So what (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mark of THE CITY ( 97325 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @01:45PM (#14272860) Journal
    everything can be quantified

    As Einstein said, "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts."
  • by skintigh2 ( 456496 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @01:49PM (#14272894)
    This painting was not made in one sitting. Or two. Or ten.

    It was never even finished.

    The subject, ASSUMING THERE WAS ONE, sat for one or several sessions and then Leonardo continued to work on the painting off and on for the rest of his life.

    There is speculation as to who the subject was, but perhaps there was none, and some think it's actually a self portrait in drag (perhaps the cause of the mostly amused but 9% disgusted?)
  • 90% Lisa, 10% Mona (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jbum ( 121617 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @01:57PM (#14272972)
    On a related note, back in February, I searched Flickr for photos matching the tags Lisa or Mona.
    The results indicate that 9/10ths of the women in these photos are named Lisa. I built
    a photo mosaic from the results, which can be seen here: et-95771/ []

  • by jjh37997 ( 456473 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @02:00PM (#14273002) Homepage
    Of course, a number of people suspect that the true model for Mona Lisa was Da Vinci himself. I wonder if the researchers accounted for this?
  • Camera Obscura, etc (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday December 16, 2005 @02:19PM (#14273172) Homepage Journal
    It was not unusual, at that time, for artists to use a range of techniques for capturing the key points of the person they were painting, to avoid having a person sit for ages whilst being painted. This means that although the painting would not be a "true" photograph, it could have been extremely close to one.

    On a related note, this might also explain the resemblance to Leonardo. Let us say that he did, indeed, have a woman sit for just long enough to sketch in the key facial lines. He would then have needed to add in the skin texture and other features that couldn't have been captured by whatever method he used. It would be logical for him to have used his own face to capture such information. The Mona Lisa would then have been a composite of the original model and himself, which means that it would indeed have a resemblance to him.

    X-Ray analysis of the original painting reveals sketches and paintings below the Mona Lisa - though there was no sign of anyone having written "This is a fake" in felt-tip pen, much to the chagrin of Doctor Who fans. It would be interesting to know how the different levels relate to each other - were the earlier pictures earlier versions of the same painting? If they are analyzed with the same software, does it produce the same result?

  • Re:You know (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fishstick ( 150821 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @02:52PM (#14273402) Journal
    creepy how she seems to be smiling, but if you look right at her mouth, her smile fades.

    Back up to her eyes, smile.
    Down to her mouth, pissed.
    Eyes, smile.
    Mouth, pissed.

    Bet if you just stare at her boobs she would fold her arms and just glare at you.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban