facial-recognitionCEOs are expected to display a certain level of confidence in the company when out in public, regardless of whether or not the company is doing well. This is because they want to reassure investors that things are going fine. This is also why financial reports and the written statements of CEOs to investors are all also very carefully worded.


However what if you could tell how well a company will or will not do based on the faces of the CEO? Turns out that this is something that James Cicon, a finance professor at the University of Central Missouri wants to explore. He has created a piece of software that can apparently scan and read the faces of Fortune 500 executives to pick up cues on how well the company is expected to perform.

Interestingly enough it seems that there is some kind of correlation between negative emotions and how well a company is doing. In his study, he discovered that expressions like disgust were associated with a 9.3% boost in overall profits, while CEOs who expressed fear saw stock prices rise by 0.4% in the following week.

According to the paper which was co-authored by Steve Ferris of the University of Central Missouri, Ali Akansu, and Yanjian Sun of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, “Fear is widely recognized as a powerful motivator. Thus it is not surprising to find that a CEO who appears fearful under interrogation is perceived by the market as a CEO who will work harder to increase firm value.”

Of course this is just the beginnings of what sounds like rather interesting research. However the issue at hand is accuracy. In fact Dr. Paul Ekman, the psychologist who catalogued over 5,000 micro-expressions has stated that his system is 90% accurate, let alone a piece of software that is based off his work.

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