A survey of automatic facial micro-expression analysis: Databases, methods, and challenges

Yee Hui Oh, John See*, Anh Cat Le Ngo, Raphael C. W. Phan, Vishnu M. Baskaran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)
75 Downloads (Pure)


Over the last few years, automatic facial micro-expression analysis has garnered increasing attention from experts across different disciplines because of its potential applications in various fields such as clinical diagnosis, forensic investigation and security systems. Advances in computer algorithms and video acquisition technology have rendered machine analysis of facial micro-expressions possible today, in contrast to decades ago when it was primarily the domain of psychiatrists where analysis was largely manual. Indeed, although the study of facial micro-expressions is a well-established field in psychology, it is still relatively new from the computational perspective with many interesting problems. In this survey, we present a comprehensive review of state-of-the-art databases and methods for micro-expressions spotting and recognition. Individual stages involved in the automation of these tasks are also described and reviewed at length. In addition, we also deliberate on the challenges and future directions in this growing field of automatic facial micro-expression analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1128
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2018


  • Databases
  • Expressions
  • Facial micro-expressions
  • Recognition
  • Spontaneous
  • Spotting
  • Subtle emotions
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'A survey of automatic facial micro-expression analysis: Databases, methods, and challenges'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this