Video Exercises

Video Exercises for Expressing Emotion

Video Exercise: Seeing Emotions

TURN OFF THE SOUND on your computer to watch these video clips, and see if you can tell from the visual information alone what emotion is being expressed in each. If the emotion isn’t immediately apparent to you, watch the video several times: once just focusing on the eyes, once just focusing on the mouth & nose, once just focusing on the posture and gestures. ¬†Take notes on each, and try to reason through what these add up to. These videos are very short, but even so, you can pick up on the emotion!



Even without the voice, you can tell that she’s not happy: her eyes & mouth droop. She has no energy. But her eyes don’t look down and her posture isn’t hunched as we would expect to see if she were sad. She is bored.



In addition to the furrowed brow and the eyes darting sideways (both common with deep thought), she even shakes her head. She is uncertain.



Her face contorts, and she bares her teeth while speaking with great intensity (we see the tendons on her neck stick out, and we see her head jutting forward as she speaks). She is angry.



She wears a classic “I smell something bad” face throughout: crinkled nose, which raises the upper lip (but no smile) and narrows the eyes. She is disgusted.



His smile is wide, bright, and cheery, with laugh lines around his eyes. You would be able to tell across the room (without hearing what he’s saying or his tone of voice) that this guy is happy.



She got what people call “puppydog eyes” here: big, sad eyes that beg for sympathy. She looks like she’s giving you really bad news (like your cat just died). The furrowed brow isn’t necessarily associated with sadness, but notice the little frown.



Her head bobs towards us, her eyebrows are raised high (making her eyes big and wide), her mouth gapes open. This is classic surprise.



She’s hunched over (protecting herself), her eyes have a bit of the “deer in the headlights” look, and she gets the hell out of there as quickly as she can. Even without hearing her voice (or what she says), you can tell she’s afraid. She’s also unhappy, of course (as most of us are when we’re afraid), but she’s too intense to just be sad.



Another big smile that can be seen not just in the mouth region (spread, upwardly curved lips) but the eyes as well (narrowed with laugh lines). Notice, too, how her body is neither drooping in sadness nor stiff with fear –rather, she’s moving around a bit, almost dancing, with the uncontained energy that comes with being really happy.



She’s scowling and maintaining a hard stare. This lacks the intensity of extreme anger, but she’s definitely annoyed.

 Follow-Up Video Exercise: Seeing Emotions in Motion

With a confederate, get a TV comedy or drama that you have not previously seen on DVD or the computer (anything you can pause). With the sound turned off, fast-forward and pause the episode multiple times. For each paused screen, try to read the emotion the character is projecting. Does you confederate agree? Why or why not? After you’ve done this several times, watch the episode with the sound turned on, and see if you were right. Repeat as often as you like!