Ohio State University Scientist Studies Facial Expressions In Hopes Of Treating PTSD


UPDATED: Friday April 4, 2014 6:56 PM

Scientists may have better tools to help treat people with autism and post-traumatic stress disorder, thanks to some research OSU's College of Engineering.

Aleix Martinez and his students have used computers to analyze and identify 21 emotions. That includes blends of the basic six (happy, sad, surprise, anger, fear, and disgust.)

They then traced the facial muscles used in compound emotions like "happily disgusted" which they describe as the way you react to a raunchy joke. It’s the first step in learning how the brain decodes and uses facial expressions.

Martinez hopes what they learn will allow doctors to help patients with some emotional and mental illnesses.

"The question is ‘Why does this happen and how does this happen?" said Martinez. "That will, down the line, allow us to understand which different processes in the brain change when you develop say, depression, which is an anxiety disorder, versus PTSD."

His team now wants to study facial expressions in volunteers with post-traumatic stress disorder and autism.

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