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Israel, Laura S. F. and Schönbrodt, Felix D. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8282-3910 (2020): Predicting affective appraisals from facial expressions and physiology using machine learning. In: Behavior research methods, Vol. 53: pp. 574-592

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The present study explored the interrelations between a broad set of appraisal ratings and five physiological signals, including facial EMG, electrodermal activity, and heart rate variability, that were assessed in 157 participants watching 10 emotionally charged videos. A total of 134 features were extracted from the physiological data, and a benchmark comparing different kinds of machine learning algorithms was conducted to test how well the appraisal dimensions can be predicted from these features. For 13 out of 21 appraisals, a robust positive R2 was attained, indicating that the dimensions are actually related to the considered physiological channels. The highest R2 (.407) was reached for the appraisal dimension intrinsic pleasantness. Moreover, the comparison of linear and nonlinear algorithms and the inspection of the links between the appraisals and single physiological features using accumulated local effects plots indicates that the relationship between physiology and appraisals is nonlinear. By constructing different importance measures for the assessed physiological channels, we showed that for the 13 predictable appraisals, the five channels explained different amounts of variance and that only a few blocks incrementally explained variance beyond the other physiological channels.

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