Co-occurrences of facial signals and social actions of information requests

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To have a successful conversation, we must be able to identify a speaker's social action quickly enough to prepare an acceptable response. Facial signals, and particularly eyebrow movement, have been known to help identify these social actions. However, the subcategories of these social actions have not been studied before. This study investigates the relationship between facial signals and subcategories of social actions, specifically those of information requests. We wanted to know if there were any differences in facial signal distributions and combinations across different subcategories of information requests. We studied a corpus of 34 dyadic face-to-face Dutch conversations, with 106 occurrences of subcategories of information requests. Results showed that the distribution of facial signals and the distribution of eyebrow movements differs per subcategory, with eyebrow frowns being the most common of the eyebrow movements overall. We found combinations of eyebrow frowns and squints, and we found combinations of eyebrow raises and smiles. However, these seemed to generalize across subcategories. There also was no statistically significant difference in the counts of the facial signals. In conclusion, these findings suggest that the distribution and some combinations of facial signals and eyebrow movement may be used to indicate these subcategories of requesting information in social interaction.
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