Stanford researcher David Wilkins is interested in how facial emotions could be employed to help individuals with autism. He studies artists, actors and psychologists to find out how to train people to better recognize subtle emotional expressions. His careful dissections of portrait-drawing techniques, facial mimicry and emotional memory techniques, and the techniques of micro-expression and subtle expression recognition, have led the lecturer toward the fundamentals of human communication.
To Wilkins, who is a part of Stanford’s Symbolic Systems Program, distinguishes happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, disgust and contempt as of the greatest significance to human communication. Autistic individuals are fifty percent less likely to distinguish the emotional indications of facial expression, which may adversely interrupt the individuals interpersonal interactions.
Wilkins and his team are designing experiments that they intend to benefit autism. By assessing the efficacy of several different kinds of art, acting and psychological techniques, the scientists hope to discover one that results in a significant improvement in facial emotion recognition. Since people with autism are generally fifty percent less likely to recognize someone’s emotional state through their facial expressions, their successful participation in society depends on increasing their facial-emotional cognitive abilities.
A grant from the Stanford Institute for Creativity in the Arts and the Symbolic Systems Program in the School of Humanities and Sciences have made this all possible; with their help, hopefully Wilkins will achieve his noble cause.