Sexual dimorphism in human facial expressions by 3D surface processing


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Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source HOMO - Journal of Comparative Human Biology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Grimaces; Facial mimicry; Stereophotogrammetry; Facial variability; FIDENTIS
Description Human face is a dynamic system where facial expressions can rapidly modify geometry of facial features. Facial expressions are believed to be universal across world populations, but only a few studies have explored whether grimacing is sexually dimorphic and if so to what extent. The present paper explores inter- and intra-individual variation of human facial expressions with respect to individual’s sex based on a set of neutral and expression-varying 3D facial scans. The study sample composed of 20 individuals (10 males and 10 females) for whom 120 scans featuring grimaces associated with disgust, surprise, “u” sound, smile and wide smile were collected by an optical scanner Vectra XT. In order to quantify the dissimilarity among 3D images, surface comparison approach based on aligned 3D meshes and closest point-to-point distances was carried out in Fidentis Analyst application. The study revealed that sexual dimorphism was indeed one of the factors which determined the extent and characteristics of facial deformations recorded for the studied expressions. In order to produce a grimace, males showed a tendency towards extending their facial movements while females were generally more restrained. Furthermore, the facial movements linked to the wide smile and “u” sound were revealed as the most extensive relative to the other expressions, while the smile and surprise were shown indistinguishable from the neutral face.
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