Emotions: Can Machines Understand Them?

People Showing Different Emotions with Machines

The short answer is that they could understand emotions if equipped with the proper sensors and algorithms.

Physiological Components of Emotions
Emotions always have a physiological component. When we feel excited our heart rate changes, skin conductance increases, facial expressions exaggerate. Many physical and physiological signatures of emotional states have been well studied and classified. For example, the facial action coding system developed by Paul Ekman have been used to detect emotion by computer scientists since the 1970s.

Today the advances in photography and affective computing made possible the development of more accurate automated face analysis. This is how it works. 1) The machine “attends” to the facial signals through automated face detection and registration, and “receives” facial signals with high speed cameras. 2) The next step is extracting key signals. In facial expression recognition, the signal components are called Action Units (AU), or the movement changes of individual facial muscles. The machine does this through a variety of algorithms such as principal component analysis, linear discriminant analysis, and support vector machine classifiers. 3) Based on the specific combination of AU, the machine concludes an emotion experienced by the recorded facial expression.

For example, pain is characterized by brow lowering (AU4), orbital tightening (AU6 and 7), eye closure (AU43), nose wrinkling and lip raise (AU9 and 10). After going through the preceding steps and detecting the changes in these Action Units the machine will conclude that the person experiences pain.

Other Key Factors
Physiological changes such as tone of voice, body movements, heart rate and more can be measured with biometric sensors. Many devices already have these sensors and collect the data. The algorithms to analyze this data and make conclusions about emotions are already developed. It’s just a matter of time before machines will actively read our emotions and use this information in ways we hope will benefit us.

 

Your Brain. It’s what your Valentine wants most!

Week2FEBblog2_vdaypost

Your Brain In Love

Valentine’s Day. Love or loath it? Whatever your feelings are, they come from your brain and not your heart! That’s right, when you are attracted to someone it’s really driven by chemicals in your brain!  

At first, the sex chemicals testosterone and estrogen kick off what we call “lust” for someone.

A trifecta of brain chemicals affect your mood: dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Dopamine, the feel-good, can’t-get-enough, neurotransmitter gets released during the initial ‘I met someone, ooh you’re kinda cute’ stage. The heart racing, butterflies in your stomach, palms sweating early dating phase is due to norepinephrine. It’s responsible for infatuation and excitement. Ever found yourself thinking about your love interest 24/7? That’s due to serotonin.

And when we fall in love, dopamine gets released and makes you crave your love interest. The part of the brain that lights up with cocaine addiction, also lights up with love. It’s no wonder star-crossed lovers are willing to die for each other! In fact, the love drive is stronger than the sex drive! Love is addictive but like drugs, the love high becomes less strong over time. That’s why people can also fall out of love after a few months.  If you do stay together you can thank the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, which when released can make you feel more attached and committed to your partner.

Did you know your brain can also be one of your most attractive assets when you are trying to find that perfect partner?

For all you single men out there, most women want their other half to be equally intelligent, according to an annual Singles in America survey. No mimbos wanted. And, men also want a partner who’s smart and ambitious.  So, forget primping and priming for Valentine’s day. Instead, let your brain do its thing for you!

Need some extra brain stimulation to impress that Valentine?  If you need to give your brain some extra challenge and entertainment, try Fit Brains fun brain games!  And, you can take advantage of our special Valentine’s offer of 60% off a premium subscription, including gifts! 

With Fit Brains you get:

* 50+ fun, addictive (in a good way) games
* 20 Web ONLY games available on Fitbrains.com
* Emotional intelligence training in addition to cognitive training
* Personalized workouts anytime, anywhere

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The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

 

 

 

Give the Gift of a Healthy Brain this Holiday Season!

Couple passing giftIt’s the holidays and many of us are scrambling around trying to find that perfect gift for someone special (or, maybe just ANY gift at this point!)  While it may feel like a chore to pick out a gift, giving someone a gift is actually good for your brain!  That’s right, not only is it fun to receive gifts, when you give a gift it’s proven to have a positive effect on your mental well-being!

Studies at the National Institutes of Health found that gift-giving activates different regions in your brain linked to pleasure, social connection and trust, which is good for the overall health of your brain.  What’s more, when you give, you also tend to create an atmosphere of generosity, increasing the likelihood that others around you will be more generous too!  (Yeah, this could work in your favor!)    

Before you rush to the first item you see, keep in mind that the positive effects will be more powerful if you give a gift that is meaningful.  And, who doesn’t want to challenge their brain? Fit Brains has something to offer everyone.  And, with the most games and variety of any brain training program on the market, it’s sure to entertain anyone.  

Take advantage of our special 60% off Holiday Gift Promo! Give that perfect gift!

BUY A GIFT NOW WITH 60% OFF

Happy Shopping!

The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month – 3 Brain Facts You Should Know

Senior couple sitting on beach
Here’s to a Healthy, Happy Brain!

It’s National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month! We thank the 15 million+ Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in America.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, kills brain cells and interferes with cognitive abilities, emotions, behaviour and physical skills. It’s not a regular part of aging. And it’s a progressively debilitating disease that leads to death.

The Numbers

Did you know 47 million people worldwide and 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s? Every 67 seconds an American develops this disease. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the US. It can’t be cured or slowed unlike the other 9 leading causes of death. And two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients are women.

But There Is Hope

Even though there isn’t a cure, drugs and certain actions can manage the disease. Also, research shows that lifestyle factors and a positive outlook can help with brain aging. Recent UK study results conducted by the BBC, Alzheimer’s Society and the Medical Research Council indicate that regular brain training can benefit people over the age of 50. Findings from another well known study reveal that adults who learn new skills and do mentally stimulating activities like crosswords usually have lower rates of dementia. The notable Nun study indicates that an optimistic mind provides a natural defence against Alzheimer’s. And, here’s a twist, even though some nuns actually had the disease, they showed no outward symptoms, thanks to keeping their brains active and positive! Brain training can help maintain brain function and help prevent cognitive decline.

Quick Tips to Maintain Brain Function and Prevent Cognitive Decline

  1.     Hit the Gym
  2.     Nosh on a Healthy Diet
  3.     As Pharrel Williams Sings, Be Happy!
  4.     Challenge Your Mind with our fun free games! [hyperlink]

What is your favorite activity to boost your brain?  Tell us in the comments!  And follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips.  

Play a FREE Fun Brain Game Now

The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

Your Shrinking Brain, Spookiest Thing Ever!

Scared Boy
What You Should Be Afraid of Most

Zombies, witches, machete-wielding maniacs, the typical horrors of Halloween have nothing on your shrinking brain.  That’s right.  SHRINKING BRAIN.  Prepare to be scared.  

You may feel perfectly healthy, but your brain is shrinking and you are losing as much as 0.4% of your brain mass every.single.year.  Obviously this isn’t good news.  A shrinking brain means loss of memory and mental sharpness, severe depression and even premature death (cue the sound of that machete-wielding maniac).    

Take heart on this darkest of days.  There are things you can do to prevent your brain from shrinking further and improve your brain health!

  • Get a good night’s sleep (every night).  This is critical.  Every hour of reduced sleep duration= a 0.67% decrease in cognitive function!  
  • Don’t smoke.  I don’t think we need to go into much more detail about this one, but we’ll just add that smoking is associated with faster brain shrinkage and poor brain health.
  • Feel free to indulge in a little light alcohol consumption (this is our favorite tip), but don’t overdue or you’ll only make things worse for your brain (not to mention your liver…) A standard drink= 14.0 grams or 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol.
  • Supplement with B vitamins, specifically a combination of folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.  B vitamins regulate homocysteine, which if unchecked, can lead to significant brain shrinkage and dementia.
  • Indulge in Omega 3 fatty acids.  Salmon, walnuts, sardines, beef (specifically grass-fed), soybeans, flaxseeds, tofu, shrimp, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are some of the foods that are rich in Omega 3’s.     
  • Have a daily dose of pomegranate.  Studies have demonstrated significant improvements in cognition and memory among those who consume 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily!  
  • Find a way to get Resveratrol (a major component of red grapes and other dark fruits) into your body, whether you like to drink red wine in moderation, or you can simply take a Resveratrol supplement.  
  • Cognitive stimulation and training helps grow more brain cells which counteracts against brain shrinkage.  

So, while there is no denying that you should be worried about your shrinking brain, at least now you know that there is hope when you take the proper steps to maintain better brain health!

Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips.  And, you can always benefit your brain when you play Fit Brains fun brain games!  Try Fit Brains for FREE now! 

Fit Brains.  Brain Training Success