Micro-attention for micro-expression recognition

Chongyang Wang, M Peng, Tao Bi, T Chen
in Neurocomputing, Journal article


Micro-expression, for its high objectivity in emotion detection, has emerged to be a promising modality in affective computing. Recently, deep learning methods have been successfully introduced into the micro-expression recognition area. Whilst the higher recognition accuracy achieved, substantial challenges in micro-expression recognition remain. The existence of micro expression in small-local areas on face and limited size of available databases still constrain the recognition accuracy on such emotional facial behavior. In this work, to tackle such challenges, we propose a novel attention mechanism called micro-attention cooperating with residual network. Micro-attention enables the network to learn to focus on facial areas of interest covering different action units. Moreover, coping with small datasets, the micro-attention is designed without adding noticeable parameters while a simple yet efficient transfer learning approach is together utilized to alleviate the overfitting risk. With extensive experimental evaluations on three benchmarks (CASMEII, SAMM and SMIC) and post-hoc feature visualizations, we demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed micro-attention and push the boundary of automatic recognition of micro-expression.