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How We Read Emotions?

Updated on May 4, 2020
Zura Khan profile image

Being a psychotherapist & trainer, I will provide you with quick self-improvement tips that will make your better & groom your personality!


How do we read emotions!

Here, the goal of the article is to provide you with the significant link of the “external sensors” that produce certain types of emotions in a human mind. The human brain is the central part of the human body that performs vital functions. To understand the complex patterns of the brain, EEG (electroencephalographical techniques) are used. According to Cohen, (2011), human behaviors are studied by cognitive patterns that are read through EEG. However, several electrodes are attached to the scalp area to get the “electrical activity” in the brain.

As, all the information that travels through the brain is in the form of the “electrical impulses”. This is the reason that it has opened the doors for the “artificial intelligence” in the human mind. Computer software engineers putting their efforts, making work easier for human beings. Moreover, external stimulus can help to exert the positive emotions in one’s life. Also the emotions then are recorded/detected to use productively in different work settings!


Tools for "artificial intelligence" for detection of human emotions

Thus, we can utilize these external signals to produce positive emotions and then help us direct our habits to the positive way!

1 Artificial vision: Artificial vision, also known as “bionic eyes”, is a technology that is beneficial to the people who become visually-impaired due to any biological/physiological reason. Though they could see, previously. As the “non-verbal cues” play an important role in one’s life. Usually, people have this ability to express their emotions by birth, as the physiology of mouth contains muscles that are designed naturally to express emotions. Yet, people also learn to detect emotions by their environment as well.

Unfortunately, people who are blind or become visually impaired during the developing years of their life. These people, often have low interpersonal skills. And they find it hard to communicate because they do not know how to interpret emotions appropriately.

So, artificial vision helps such people in a way that it provides them with artificial exposure to the images as tiny electrodes are surgically implanted that transmits impulses from eye to brain & vice versa. In the psychological perspective, human emotional expression is usually innate but emotional recognition is learned. Additionally, it is the outcome of one’s gene pattern, how a person expresses emotions like physiology involved in smiling/crying. According to Matsumoto, blind individuals as well as the sighted ones have almost the same type of emotional expressions.

Thus, the basic human emotions of Joy, sadness, anger, fear which include the physiology of the structure of the face. Moreover, these basic emotions can also produce disgust, surprise, contempt as well as interest (Gendron & Barrett, 2009). Neurotransmitters that are involved in the production of these emotions are “dopamine”, that is involved in producing emotion of joy, happiness, elation, contempt. And other emotions like anger, disgust which involves tightening of your muscles are produced by the chemicals in the brain that is catecholamines.

Furthermore, EEG is the most efficient tool to get the data about the “cognitive patterns” of the people. It is also known as the “cognitive-affective process. For instance, in an educational setting i-e school, college, university, etc, cognitive activity can be recorded by using EEG, as it is the most unbiased reading. And by analyzing the cognitive activity you can then get an idea about the readings and the books that cause extra work burden to the students.

Many advertising companies are also using the EEG tool for getting the idea of the audiences about the product. As when a person is watching a specific advertisement, the activity of his brain is monitored which gives unbiased reading to analyze. In short, cognitive-affective processes are being used by advertising companies as well as by various brands to do research. And produce products that would be liked by more people.

2. Speech Recognition:

Emotions are like the “building blocks” in interpersonal or social relationships. It is because of the human emotions that people get to understand each other's feelings in a better way. As already mentioned, emotions are usually conveyed to the other person by several “mediums”, that may include facial expressions, language or speech, nonverbal cues or body gestures, etc.

So, considering “speech” as an important tool in understanding emotions, researchers are using “Speech Emotion Recognition”. It is an efficient system that is used to detect the underlying tone of the speech that reflects certain emotions. Moreover, speech emotion recognition is being popular to study emotions in work settings as well as clinical settings.

Emotions are recognized by the “pitch of the sounds”. According to a research, speech recognition influences the “emotional experience”. However, detecting the “pitch” of the voice works as a sensor in the human body that produces emotions. In addition to that, the frequency of the sound, pitch & volume both influences the emotional production.

Some channels utilized the “frequency, pitch, volume” of the sound and keep a track of the health of an individual. Additionally, many sounds are efficient and provide benefits to the “mental health of the people”. For instance, the “calm sounds”, trance are all the forms of the music that produces the emotions of “hope”, relief, happiness, satisfaction, joy etc. Thus, music is an important aspect of producing positive emotions. (Polansky, Sievers, Casey, & Wheatley, 2013).

Furthermore, there is a combination of tracks that are designed in a way to guide you to “meditation”. Consequently, evoking emotions of relief, hope, and calm in an individual.

3. Body Language:

Emotions are one the “complicated” thing to study in psychology. As it includes the physiological and psychological changes in the human body. Secondly, these are the emotions that, mostly are the indicators of a person’s motivations, moods, pleasures, or personality. Emotions are the “intense reactions” to the certain scenarios or situations in human life.

Another important input sensor that has a vital role in inducing emotions are the“body gestures”. The body gestures are the non-verbal cues that communicate a message to the other person. As the “internal states, feelings as well as emotions” are not visible if not expressed. And for that, vocal channels as well as nonvocal channels are involved for the appropriate expression of the emotions. According to research, our body postures and gestures have a significant role in emotional expression. (Aviezer & Todorov, 2012).

For instance, there are many “body gestures” that do not need you to speak. But what emotions they are expressing? So, to understand that, if someone points at you! What could be the possible emotion that will be triggered? An individual may have emotions like “aggression”, frustration, disgust. Or if you meet someone and shake hands. You can get the feeling of “reliability”!

Additionally, other body gestures that can tell about the “internal state” or an emotion maybe “shaking of hands” while performing in a seminar. What is this emotion? It is an emotion of nervousness. I-e your body is shivering, your heart racing, pupils dilated, etc. There is a physiological change as well as behavioural change in a person. Because the person may have a threat like situation in his mind. Emotions like these are emerged due to the activation of the “Fight or Flight” mechanism in a person.

Additionally, body gestures are also helpful like if someone gives you appreciation by “clapping for you”, what emotions would you feel? Yes, you will feel emotions of elation, pride, satisfaction as well as relief. In short, body gestures are used for expressing emotions as well as work as the “external sensors” which produce emotions in an individual.

4. Emojis/texts

Though written texts, documents are not an easy medium to analyze the emotions that are expressed. Yet, there are “semantics analysis” that usually take place to read the meaning, tone, descriptions that are shown in the written text. Nowadays, different software and applications have made it easy with introducing the “emojis” in messages. According to several researches in psychology, there are “unconscious biases”, and every individual interpret or perceive that information accordingly.

Consequently, a variation has been seen in the encoding of the same emotion by the two different individuals. For instance, a written text is analyzed and there is an “aggressive tone”, and it is shown to two different people. Resultantly, one has assumed it as a “sarcasm” and other has perceived it as a “disgusted” statement. Thus, showing unconscious biasedness in decoding of the same emotion of the aggression/anger. In addition to that, there are also “undertones” that could be sensed when analyzing the “written text or a document”, as these are the indicators of the emotions and make it easier to interpret them correctly!

5. Handbands:

Biosignals are the internal sensors that are monitored and analyzed for emotional change. Emotional models are being created for the purpose to detect the behavioral, physiological changes in the body of the person when an emotion is produced. Secondly, several pieces of research are being conducted to study this computational intelligence and how to make it more applicable for the people. Importantly, the physiological signals that human bodies make while producing different emotions are then interpreted by this computational intelligence or the machines.

For instance, there are specially designed “wristbands” or wristwatches” that have sensors installed in them and are used to detect human emotions in a specific type of the scenarios. Like, if a wrist band is attached to a person’s wrist and he is being appreciated for his work, these smartly designed wristbands will detect and monitor the emotions of “pride”, “happiness”, joy, satisfaction in a person.

And if the person is watching a horror movie, then the same wristband will sense the physiological changes in an individual, and emotions of fear, terror, danger, etc will be monitored. So, by using these machines or models that smartly monitor the emotional patterns by using the technology of “biosignals”, could be helpful in many fields and areas of life! Like there are also “lying detectors” that tell if a person is lying or speaking the truth.

6. Headbands:

Headbands also work like wristbands through headbands that are more efficient in the detection of the neural signals. Like if a smartly designed headband for detection of emotions are attached to the human head, it gives you all the EEG readings of the person’s brain.

For instance, if an individual is feeling the emotion of “happiness”, there will be an activity in his frontal cortex as well as in amygdale which is a part of the brain that is involved in processing of the feelings or emotions. In short, all positive emotions as well as negative emotions are detected by this headband and record the information of emotional states.

Moreover, it is getting important in the field of psychology, because it detects when a person is stressed or feeling emotions of frustration, guilt, shame, etc. Consequently it is productive to use this technology in work settings and offices as it provides information about the emotions. And it ultimately works best for the mental health of the people.


How do people get benefit from emotional recognition.

  • People can get benefit from this biosignal technology in a way that will help him to understand their emotional states better.
  • People can work on their emotional state, using their emotions more productively.
  • People can regulate their emotions in their work settings, being aware of the level of stress at their workplace, etc.
  • It helps in eliminating negative emotions of guilt, disgust, frustration, fear, shame, and converting them into positive emotions of elation, joy, peace, relief, satisfaction.
  • These external sensors are also producing stimulations of the neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin which are involved in the happy emotional states of an individual.
  • Moreover, it will also help enhance the abilities to learn efficiently. As these are our emotions that have an important role in our performance. So, these will also provide benefits to the students.
  • Emotions like relief, satisfaction, calm, etc can be achieved by the “meditation-induced” trances as well as music software.


Goals to achieve!

Goals i-e life goals, as well as personal goals, can be achieved by reprogramming one’s old habits with the use of emotion detected software. As your goals in life, your positive or negative emotions, your success or failure all depend on your “habits”.

In psychology, habits are the “behavioral patterns”, any repetitive observable action of the person. For example, painting, reading books, singing, etc, all are the behaviors that a person has adopted in his life. In addition to that, these are behaviors that cause emotional experience for the person. Let's say, you do painting, and feel satisfied (feeling the emotion of satisfaction/wellbeing). Or you have a habit of cooking, you have baked a cake for you and felt an emotion of joy/elation, etc.

So, it is our habits that play a significant role in one’s life. Additionally, if we see a psychological perspective then the things that we believe in our lives, ultimately start to become our reality. Because it is our emotions that make us feel good or confident or blissful in life. Also, when we feel sad, unhappy, depressed, guilty, or shameful, etc are controlled by our emotions. And then our behavior follows the pattern that emotions have initiated!

The Newyork’s Bestselling book (Atomic Habits), has given a helpful process of “rebuilding” old habits/improving or making new productive habits.

The habit loop or habit pattern consists of four stages that are:

  • Cue
  • Craving
  • Response
  • Reward.

All habits, usually revolves around this pattern. From a psychological perspective, if a person wants to feel the emotion of “pride”, say it is the “rewards” that he wants to achieve and it is also linked to the emotion of “elation” or emotion of “satisfaction”. To achieve this as a reward, an individual will work harder, as he has the craving to feel appreciated or to feel satisfied. So, he will take a cue from all these phenomena and will act accordingly!

Here, you can take another example through this “habit pattern”. For instance, the first step “cue” will guide your brain to take action. Suppose you are in a college, and your brain has triggered the cue by making you realize that “topping” the final exams will increase your chances to get the best job(reward).

So, emotions that would be involved like pride, elation, joy, satisfaction, etc all play their part as the “craving step” of the habit pattern. Then, how will you move towards a response? By acting properly, like increasing your habits to study more, or improving your old habits like staying outside with friends. As you know that these old habits could be a hurdle in your success. So, you will start working on new habits while changing the old ones. In this way, when you get successful and start feeling all the emotions of euphoria and satisfaction. So, in the future, you will again be following the same pattern of habits for experiencing positive emotions in life.




Conclusively, all of the mentioned “external senors” play a significant role in a person’s emotions. However, it is our physiology of emotions that let these artificial machines to detect the “internal states” as well as human’s feelings/emotions.

Furthermore, habits usually revolve around these four steps of the habit pool. Thus, the emotions, positive or negative that are monitored through all of the external sensors are significantly involved in improving habits. That, ultimately, opens the door towards a better life!


Cohen (2011). It’s about time. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 5(2), 1–15.

Ekman, P. (1992). An argument for basic emotions. Cognition and Emotion, 6(3-4), 169–200.

Gendron M, Barrett. (2009). Reconstructing the Past: A Century of Ideas About Emotion in Psychology, 1(4):316-339

San Francisco State University. (2008, December 30). Facial Expressions Of Emotion Are Innate, Not Learned. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 2, 2020 from

Sievers B, Polansky L, Casey M, Wheatley (2013). Music and movement share a dynamic structure that supports universal expressions of emotion. 110(1):70-5

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Zura Rubab Khan


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