Analyzing group-level emotion with global alignment kernel based approach

Xiaohua Huang, Abhinav Dhall, Roland Goecke, Matti K. Pietikainen, Guoying Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


From the perspective of social science, understanding group emotion has become increasingly important for teams to considerably accomplish organizational work. Currently, automatically analyzing the perceived affect of a group of people has been received increasingly interest in affective computing community. The variability in group size makes difficulty for group-level emotion recognition to straightforwardly measure the feature distance of two group-level images. Recent works attempted to resolve the preceding problem by using feature encoding. However, the early works lack of efficiency. To alleviate this problem, this article aims to design a new method to effectively analyze the group behavior from a group-level image. Motivated by time-series kernel approaches explored in dynamic facial expression classification, this article mainly concentrates on global alignment kernel and design support vector machine with the combined global alignment kernels (SVM-CGAK) to better recognize group-level emotion. Specifically, we first propose to use global alignment kernel to explicitly measure the distance of two group-level images. For improving the performance of global alignment kernel, we use the global weight sort scheme based on their spatial relation information to sort the faces from group-level image, making an efficient data structure to the global alignment kernel. With this new global alignment kernel, we construct the backbone of SVM-CGAK, namely, support vector machine with global alignment kernel. Furthermore, considering the challenging environment, we construct two global alignment kernels based on Reisz-based Volume Local Binary Pattern and deep convolutional neural network features, respectively. Lastly, to make the robustness of group-level emotion recognition, we propose SVM-CGAK combining both global alignment kernels with multiple kernel learning approach. It can enhance the discriminative ability of each global alignment kernel. Intensive experiments are conducted on three challenging group-level emotion databases. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed approach achieves promising performance for group-level emotion recognition compared with the recent state-of-the-art methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-728
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Affective Computing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2019


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