An Eye for an Eye: Heart Rate and Facial Expression Predict (Un) Cooperation

Federica Cavicchio

DATE: December 3, 2009 at 2.00 PM
LOCATION: Room Seminari di Matematica, Faculty of Science – Povo (TN)

The philosopher H. P. Grice was the first to highlight the extent to which our ability to communicate effectively depends on speakers acting cooperatively. Yet the prisoner’s dilemma game shows that there are limits to the extent of cooperation. However, so far it has proven remarkably challenging to test cooperation and its violations in interactions, because of the difficulty in objectively measuring the consequences of such violations. In our study we show the effects of uncooperative language use relying on objective measures and reliable classification techniques. The heart rate (HR) and facial expressions were recorded and classified in cooperative and uncooperative tasks. Negative correlations were observed between HR and cooperation and the facial expressions were found to be highly predictive of cooperation. Our results shed light on a crucial aspect of human communication and our method is usable to research in other aspects of human interaction as well.
CONTACT: Giuseppe Riccardi

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