Personalized automatic estimation of self-reported pain intensity from facial expressions

Daniel Lopez-Martinez, Ognjen Rudovic and Rosalind W. Picard. “Personalized Automatic Estimation of Self-Reported Pain Intensity from Facial Expressions.” 2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Workshops (CVPRW) (2017): 2318-2327.


Pain is a personal, subjective experience that is commonly evaluated through visual analog scales (VAS). While this is often convenient and useful, automatic pain detection systems can reduce pain score acquisition efforts in large-scale studies by estimating it directly from the partictipants' facial expressions. In this paper, we propose a novel two-stage learning approach for VAS estimation: first, our algorithm employs Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) to automatically estimate Prkachin and Solomon Pain Intensity (PSPI) levels from face images. The estimated scores are then fed into the personalized Hidden Conditional Random Fields (HCRFs), used to estimate the VAS, provided by each person. Personalization of the model is performed using a newly introduced facial expressiveness score, unique for each person. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first approach to automatically estimate VAS from face images. We show the benefits of the proposed personalized over traditional non-personalized approach on a benchmark dataset for pain analysis from face images.

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