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Zakia Hammal, PhDZamia HammalZamia Hammal

Carnegie Mellon University
The Robotics Institut
Pittsbourgh, PA (USA)

PD Dr. Steffen WalterSteffen Walter, UlmSteffen Walter, Ulm

Ulm University (D)
Medical Psychology

Nadia Berthouze NadiaNadia

University College London (UK)
Affective Interaction and Computing


Behavioural perspectives on automated pain assessment: forty years in the trenches

Ken Prkachin, PhD. Professor Emeritus, Psychology, University of Northern British Columbia.

Abstract: There has been an explosion of research applying computer vision and artificial intelligence methods to the assessment of pain. This work has built upon concepts and methods that arose in basic behavioural science and clinical studies over several decades. There has been substantial progress in demonstrating that certain behavioural indicators of pain can be detected via contemporary applications of technology; however, much of the contemporary research appears to address narrow technical issues while bypassing some of the fundamental conceptual and practical reasons for interest in behavioural expression of pain. In this talk, I will place the study of pain expression into a historical context, explaining why it emerged in importance, what conceptual issues supported its development, the methods that contributed to advances, and findings concerning the nature and properties of pain expression. I will highlight some fruitful directions for research into automated assessment of pain and identify possible cul-de-sacs. 

Bio: Kenneth Prkachin is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada. His research has focused on the behavioral expression of pain; in particular, on characterizing the nature and effects of facial expressions of pain. With his co-investigators, Dr. Patty Solomon and Dr. Jeffrey Cohn, he has established the UNBC-McMaster Pain Archive which has been used widely in research on automated analysis of pain expression, including the first successful application of computer vision techniques to the detection of facial expressions of pain. More recently he has been involved in work on the relationship between third-person pain perception and empathy. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association.