Learning Pain from Action Unit Combinations: A Weakly Supervised Approach via Multiple Instance Learning
Patient pain can be detected highly reliably from facial expressions using a set of facial muscle-based action units (AUs) defined by the Facial Action Coding System (FACS). A key characteristic of facial expression of pain is the simultaneous occurrence of pain-related AU combinations, whose automated detection would be highly beneficial for efficient and practical pain monitoring. Existing general Automated Facial Expression Recognition (AFER) systems prove inadequate when applied
... for detecting pain as they either focus on detecting individual pain-related AUs but not on combinations or they seek to bypass AU detection by training a binary pain classifier directly on pain intensity data but are limited by lack of enough labeled data for satisfactory training. In this paper, we propose a new approach that mimics the strategy of human coders of decoupling pain detection into two consecutive tasks: one performed at the individual video-frame level and the other at video-sequence level. Using state-of-the-art AFER tools to detect single AUs at the frame level, we propose two novel data structures to encode AU combinations from single AU scores. Two weakly supervised learning frameworks namely multiple instance learning (MIL) and multiple clustered instance learning (MCIL) are employed corresponding to each data structure to learn pain from video sequences. Experimental results show an 87% pain recognition accuracy with 0.94 AUC (Area Under Curve) on the UNBC-McMaster Shoulder Pain Expression dataset. Tests on long videos in a lung cancer patient video dataset demonstrates the potential value of the proposed system for pain monitoring in clinical settings.