Assoc. Prof. Dr. Marc Mehu

Marc Mehu  Associate Professor of Psychology, Webster Vienna Private University








ORCID:  orcid icon

Courses taught at WVPU

Undergraduate Courses

Graduate Courses


Background and Facts

Dr. Marc Méhu studied Psychology at the University of Liège (Belgium) with specializations in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Ethology. After two ethnological field studies on non-human primate behavior in South India and West Africa (Republic of Guinea), he completed a Ph.D. 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 Ph.D., 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 and was promoted to Associate Professor of Psychology in January 2019. 

Country of Origin: Belgium

Research interests

Marc's main interests lie in the study of affective phenomena and social behavior from 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 a 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

Schlegel, K., Mehu, M., M. van Peer, J., Scherer, K. R. (2018). Sense and Sensibility: The role of cognitive and emotional intelligence in negotiation. Journal of Research in Personality, 74, 6-15. 

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, 48(5), 568-590.

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

Stewart, P. A., Bucy, E. P., Mehu, M. (2015). Strengthening bonds and connecting with followers. Politics and the Life Sciences, 34(1), 1-20.

Mehu, M. (2015). The integration of emotional and symbolic components in multimodal communication. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 961.

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.

Mehu, M., & Scherer, K. R. (2015). The Appraisal bias model of cognitive vulnerability to depression. Emotion Review 7(3), 272-279.

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.

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.

Bousmalis, K., Mehu, M., & Pantic, M. (2013). Towards the automatic detection of spontaneous agreement and disagreement based on nonverbal behavior: A survey of related cues, databases, and tools. Image and Vision Computing, 31(2), 203-221.

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.

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.

Mehu, M., & Scherer, K. R. (2012).  A psycho-ethological approach to Social Signal Processing. Cognitive Processing,13(2), 397-414.

Mehu, M., Mortillaro, M., Bänziger, T., & Scherer, K. R. (2012).  Reliable facial muscle activation enhances the recognisability and credibility of emotional expression. Emotion, 12(4), 701-715.

Valstar, M., Mehu, M., Jiang, B., Pantic, M., & Scherer, K. R. (2012). A meta-analysis of the first facial expression recognition and analysis challenge. Systems, Man, & Cybernetics-Part B: Cybernetics, 42(4), 966-979.

Mehu, M. (2011).  Smiling and laughter in naturally occurring dyadic interactions: relationship to the 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.

Mehu, M., & N'Diaye, K. (2010).  The proximate mechanisms and ultimate functions of smiles [Commentary]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(6), 454-455.

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.

Mehu, M., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2008). Naturalistic observations of smiling and laughter in human group interactions. Behaviour, 145(12), 1747-1780.

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

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.

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.

Mehu, M, Grammer, K., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2007). Smiles when sharing. Evolution & Human Behavior, 28, 415-422.

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 behavior. 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 synchronization 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Bousmalis, K., Mehu, M., & Pantic, M. (2009). Spotting agreement and disagreement: A survey of audiovisual cues and tools. Proc. IEEE Int'l Conf. Affective Computing and Intelligent Interfaces, Amsterdam, NL.


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.