But facial expressions might not be reliable indicators of emotion, research indicates. In fact, it might be more accurate to say we should never trust a person’s face, new research suggests.

“The question we really asked is: ‘Can we truly detect emotion from facial articulations?’” said Aleix Martinez, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at The Ohio State University.

“And the basic conclusion is, no, you can’t.”

Source: Facial expressions don’t tell the whole story of emotion

How could this affect a teacher?

For example, consider a classroom environment, and a teacher who assumes that a student is not paying attention because of the expression on the student’s face. The teacher might expect the student to smile and nod along if the student is paying attention. But maybe that student, for reasons the teacher doesn’t understand — cultural reasons, perhaps, or contextual ones — is listening intently, but not smiling at all. It would be, Martinez argues, wrong for the teacher to dismiss that student because of the student’s facial expressions.

There are places in the world where classrooms are already being tracked with AI. This new research shows where this may not be a good idea.