Dr. Marc Mehu



Current position:

Assistant Professor of Psychology, Webster Vienna Private University


ORCID:  orcid icon  http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5164-3573




Background and Facts

Dr. Marc Mehu studied Psychology at the University of Liège (Belgium) with specializations in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Ethology. After two ethological field studies on non-human primate behavior in South India and West Africa (Republic of Guinea), he completed a PhD in Evolutionary Psychology and Behavioral Ecology at the University of Liverpool in 2007. Marc's doctoral thesis investigated the function of smiling and laughter in social interactions. In the final years of his PhD, he spent several months as a visiting researcher at the (former) Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute for Urban Ethology, hosted by the Department of Anthropology at the University of Vienna. He then moved to the University of Geneva for a postdoctoral position at the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences. Marc was appointed Assistant Professor of Psychology at Webster Vienna in October 2013.

Country of Origin: Belgium

Courses taught at Webster

Undergraduate Courses

Graduate Courses

Research interests

Marc's main interests lie in the study of affective phenomena and social behavior in an evolutionary perspective. In particular, he is interested in the role of emotion and nonverbal behavior in competitive and cooperative social interactions. In 2004, he became a certified coder of the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) and has used it extensively in his research. As a member of the Social Signal Processing Network (SSPNet), Marc also has great interest in the automatic analysis of communicative behavior and in Affective Computing. More recently, he has moved towards applying his research to the fields of negotiation, political communication, and clinical psychology.

Marc is currently involved in several research projects in relation to nonverbal communication, emotion, and social interaction:

- Negotiation and Emotion (NEMO): An interdisciplinary project on individual differences in socio-emotional skills in relation to dyadic negotiation.

- Analysis of facial, vocal, and bodily cues in naturally occurring social interactions (political debates) with a focus on the expression of agreement, disagreement, and dominance.

- The role of cognitive appraisal bias in the generation and maintenance of emotional disorders.


Peer-reviewed journal articles

Allen, J.A., Fisher, C., Chetouani, M., Chiu, M.M., Gunes, H., Mehu, M., & Hung, H. (2017). Comparing social science and computer science workflow processes for studying group interactions. Small Group Research, online first. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1046496417721747

Mehu, M., & Scherer, K. R. (2015). Emotion categories and dimensions in the facial communication of affect: An integrated approach. Emotion, 15(6), 798-811. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0039416

Stewart, P. A., Bucy, E. P., Mehu, M. (2015). Strengthening bonds and connecting with followers. Politics and the Life Sciences, 34(1), 1-20. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/pls.2015.5

Mehu, M. (2015). The integration of emotional and symbolic components in multimodal communication. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 961. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00961

Scherer, K. R., & Mehu, M. (2015). Normal and abnormal emotions - the quandary of diagnosing affective disorder: Introduction and overview. Emotion Review, 7(3), 201-203. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1754073915576689

Mehu, M., & Scherer, K. R. (2015). The Appraisal bias model of cognitive vulnerability to depression. Emotion Review 7(3), 272-279. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1754073915575406

Stewart, P. A., Mehu, M., & Salter, F. K. (2015). Sex and leadership: Interpreting competitive and affiliative facial displays based on workplace status. International Public Management Journal, 18(2), 190-208. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10967494.2014.996626

Mehu, M., & van der Maaten, L. J. P. (2014). Multimodal integration of dynamic audio-visual cues in the communication of agreement and disagreement. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 38, 569-597. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10919-014-0192-2

Bousmalis, K., Mehu, M., & Pantic, M. (2013). Towards the automatic detection of spontaneous agreement and disagreement based on nonverbal behaviour: A survey of related cues, databases, and tools. Image and Vision Computing, 31(2), 203-221. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.imavis.2012.07.003

Scherer, K. R., Mortillaro, M., & Mehu, M. (2013). Understanding the facial expression and perception of emotion: A Componential Perspective. Emotion Review, 5(1), 47-53. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1754073912451504

Mehu, M., D’Errico F., & Heylen, D. (2012). Conceptual analysis of social signals: the importance of clarifying terminology. Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces, 6(3-4), 179-189. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12193-012-0091-y

Mehu, M., & Scherer, K. R. (2012).  A psycho-ethological approach to Social Signal Processing. Cognitive Processing,13(2), 397-414. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10339-012-0435-2

Mehu, M., Mortillaro, M., Bänziger, T., & Scherer, K. R. (2012).  Reliable facial muscles activation enhances recognisability and credibility of emotional expression. Emotion, 12(4), 701-715. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0026717

Valstar, M., Mehu, M., Jiang, B., Pantic, M., & Scherer, K. R. (2012). Meta-analysis of the first facial expression recognition and analysis challenge. Systems, Man, & Cybernetics – Part B: Cybernetics, 42(4), 966-979. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TSMCB.2012.2200675

Mehu, M. (2011).  Smiling and laughter in naturally occurring dyadic interactions: relationship to conversation, body contacts, and displacement activities. Human Ethology Bulletin, 26(1), 10-28. PDF iconpdf

Mortillaro, M., Mehu, M., & Scherer, K. R. (2011).  Subtly different positive emotions can be distinguished by their facial expressions. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2(3), 262-271. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1948550610389080

Mehu, M., & N'Diaye, K. (2010).  The proximate mechanisms and ultimate functions of smiles [Commentary]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(6), 454-455. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X10001561

Stewart, P. A., Salter, F. K., & Mehu, M. (2009). Taking leaders at face value: Ethology and the analysis of televised leader displays. Politics and the Life Sciences, 28(1), 48-74. http://dx.doi.org/10.2990/28_1_48

Mehu, M., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2008). Naturalistic observations of smiling and laughter in human group interactions. Behaviour, 145(12), 1747-1780. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/156853908786279619

Mehu, M., Little, A. C., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2008). Sex differences in the effect of smiling on social judgements: an evolutionary approach. Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 2(3), 103-121. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0099351

Mehu, M., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2008). Relationship between smiling and laughter in humans (Homo sapiens): testing the Power Asymmetry Hypothesis. Folia Primatologica, 79(5), 269-280. http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000126928

Mehu, M., Little, A. C., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2007). Duchenne smiles and the perception of generosity and sociability in faces. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 5(1-4), 133-146. http://dx.doi.org/10.1556/JEP.2007.1011

Mehu, M, Grammer, K., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2007). Smiles when sharing. Evolution & Human Behavior, 28, 415-422. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2007.05.010

Mehu, M., Huynen M-C., & Agoramoorthy G. (2006). Social relationships in a free-ranging group of bonnet macaques (M. radiata) in Tamil Nadu, India. Primate Report, 73, 49-55.

Book chapters

Scherer, K. R., Mortillaro, M., & Mehu, M. (2017). Facial expression is driven by appraisal and generates appraisal inference. In J.-M. Fernández-Dols; & J. A. Russell (Eds.), The science of facial expression, (pp. 353-373). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Mehu, M. (2017). Sex differences in emotional communication. In T. K. Shackelford; & V. A. Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1462-1. 

Mortillaro, M., & Mehu, M. (2015). Emotions: Methods of assessment. In J. D. Wright (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences (2nd ed), (pp. 519-525). London: Elsevier Ltd.

Mehu, M. (2014). An evolutionary perspective on facial behaviour. In C. Müller; A. Cienki; E. Fricke; S. H. Ladewig; D. McNeill, & J. Bressem (Eds.), Body – Language – Communication: Multimodal perspectives on language in communication, vol. 2, (pp. 1962-1968). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. ISBN 9783110302028

Mortillaro, M., Mehu, M., & Scherer, K. R. (2013). The evolutionary origin of multimodal synchronisation and emotional expression. In E. Altenmüller; S. Schmidt; & E. Zimmermann (Eds.), Evolution of Emotional Communication: From Sounds in Nonhuman Mammals to Speech and Music in Man, (pp.3-25). New York: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583560.003.0001

Pantic, M., Cowie, R., D'Errico, F., Heylen, D., Mehu, M., Pelachaud, C., Poggi, I., Schröder, M., & Vinciarelli, A. (2011).  Social signal processing: The research agenda. In T.B. Moeslund; A. Hilton; V. Krüger; L. Sigal (Eds.), Visual analysis of humans: Looking at people (pp. 511-538). London: Springer. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-0-85729-997-0_26

Stewart, P. A., Salter, F. K., & Mehu, M. (2011).  The face as a focus of political communication: Evolutionary perspectives and the ethological methods. In E. P. Bucy; R. L. Holbert (Eds.), Sourcebook for political communication research (pp. 165-193). New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415964951

Mehu, M. (2009). The social context of smiling. In E. Bänninger-Huber & D. Peham (Eds.), Current and Future Perspectives in Facial Expression Research: Topics and Methodological Questions, (pp. 47-53). Innsbruck: Innsbruck University Press. ISBN 9783902719225

Conference proceedings (peer-reviewed)

Ringeval, F., Marchi, E., Mehu, M., Scherer, K. R., Schuller, B. (2015). Face reading from speech – Predicting facial Action Units from audio cues, Proc. INTERSPEECH 2015, 16th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA), Dresden, Germany. http://www.sewaproject.eu/files/6ba55a1a-61be-4887-8163-3995843f8454.pdf

Valstar, M. F., Girard, J., Almaev, T., McKeown, G., Mehu, M., Yin, L., Pantic, M., & Cohn, J. (2015). FERA 2015 - Second facial expression recognition challenge, Proc. IEEE Int’l Conf. Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition, Ljubljana, Slovenia. http://www.sewaproject.eu/files/c6443331-933f-4ae7-cb53-f15659374dda.pdf

Valstar, M. F., Jiang, B., Mehu, M., Pantic, M., & Scherer, K. R. (2011).  The first facial expression recognition and analysis challenge. Proc. IEEE Int’l Conf. Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition, Santa Barbara, USA. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/FG.2011.5771374

Bousmalis, K., Mehu, M., & Pantic, M. (2009). Spotting agreement and disagreement: A survey of audiovidual cues and tools. Proc. IEEE Int'l Conf. Affective Computing and Intelligent Interfaces, Amsterdam, NL. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/ACII.2009.5349477


Mehu, M., & Mehu-Blantar, I. (2015). Emotionen von Vorgesetzten lesen sich leichter: Wie Geschlecht und berufliche Position die emotionale Wahrnehmung am Arbeitsplatz beeinflussen. Personal Manager, 5, 40-42.

Dunbar, R. I. M., & Mehu, M. (2003). Patterns of grooming and self-touching in naturalistic situations. Commissioned Report for Unilever Research Laboratories, Port Sunlight; 73pp.