Skip main navigation

Extracting emotion data from motion data

Is it possible to detect someone’s emotions by studying their motion? Alexander Refsum Jensenius and Kristian Nymoen discuss their methods.
We have been looking at how to record music related motion, and to get data streams from this. And we’ve also seen that motion and emotion are closely connected. So I’d like to ask you Alexander, do you think it’s possible to identify human emotion from motion data? I think the short answer is yes. But it’s very difficult to do. But still I think it’s important to think about that we have many different layers here. So one thing is the actual physical motion that we have and that we can measure with different types of motion capture systems. But then to understand more about what actually happens emotionally, how we would perceive this in our brain, it’s a long way.
And it’s many, many layers in between. So that’s why I think, when we work with this as researchers, we need to do this systematically and to look at the different layers separately. And for example, go from the continuous physical motion to look at how we perceive this as an action with the beginning and an end. And then from there again it’s possible to look at kind of how we experience these, some of the more expressive and emotional qualities in this. And then obviously here we also need to combine both quantitative methods and techniques, but also qualitative.
Because of course the interpretation of the data is very much connected to the cultural background, the context that this is situated in, et cetera, et cetera. So the long answer it’s difficult, and the short answer is that yes, it’s possible. Ok, so then we know that research is going on, on how to identify human emotion from motion. But what do you think, is it possible to identify emotion from motion? And in what way are the two related?

As we have seen in the previous videos, there are strong links between motion and emotion in music.

But if motion and emotion are so closely connected, is it possible to detect someone’s emotions by studying their motion?

What do you think? Is it possible to identify emotion from motion? How are the two related?

This article is from the free online

Music Moves: Why Does Music Make You Move?

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education