Karen L. Schmidt, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh, School of Dental Medicine, Department of Oral Biology

Facial Behavior Lab
Biographical Information
Selected Publications
Courses Taught
Curriculum vitae
Contact Information

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Facial Behavior Lab "FaBL"

My research in facial and other nonverbal behavior is conducted at the University of Pittsburgh. Funding for my current research comes from the National Institutes of Health. For more information my current research on facial nerve disorders and other topics, please go to the Facial Behavior Lab (FaBL) page.

Biographical Information

My research on facial behavior has two primary foci: the movement characteristics of the muscles of facial expression and the links among facial behavior, social interaction, and mental health. From an evolutionary perspective, the human face represents a set of complex physical and behavioral adaptations for both social and emotional signaling. Insights gained from the study of spontaneous facial behavior have important applications in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders such as cleft lip/palate and Moebius Syndrome, as well as applications in behavioral disorders, gerontology, education and human computer interaction. I am currently an assistant professor of Oral Biology at the University of Pittsburgh, and am also affiliated with the department of Psychology, at the University of Pittsburgh where I continue to collaborate with the Affect Analysis Group,developing objective measures of nonverbal behavior. In addition to my facial behavior research, I have also been a co-investigator in studies of communication in older adults with Alzheimer's Disease and patients in Intensive Care Units as well as studies of variation in child behavior, especially behavior associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

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Selected Publications

Schmidt, K.L., Bhattacharya, S, Denlinger, R.L. (2009).
Comparison of deliberate and spontaneous facial movement in smiles and eyebrow raises. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 33, 35-45. abstract

Denlinger, R.L., VanSwearingen, J.M., Cohn, J.F, Schmidt, K.L. (2008).
Puckering and blowing facial expressions for patients with facial movement disorders. Physical Therapy Journal 88, 909-915. abstract

Schmidt, K.L., Liu, Y, and Cohn, J.F. (2006).
The role of structural facial asymmetry in asymmetry of peak facial expressions. Laterality 11(6):540-561. abstract

Schmidt, K.L., Ambadar, Z., Cohn, J.F., and Reed, L.I. (2006). Movement differences between deliberate and spontaneous facial expressions: Zygomaticus major action in smiling. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior abstract

Schmidt, K.L., VanSwearingen, J.M., and Levenstein, R.M. (2005). Speed, amplitude, and asymmetry of lip movement in voluntary puckering and blowing expressions: Implications for facial assessment. Motor Control abstract

Schmidt, K.L., J.F. Cohn, and Y.Tian 2003. Signal Characteristics of Spontaneous Smiles. Biological Psychology 65(1):49-66. abstract

Schmidt, K.L. and J.F. Cohn 2001. Human Facial Expressions as Adaptations: Evolutionary Questions in Facial Expression Research. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 44:3-24. abstract

Please contact me at kschmidt@pitt.edu with any reprint requests.
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Courses Taught

Biological Anthropology
Evolution of Human Behavior
Human Gross Anatomy
Functional Neuroanatomy

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Contact Information
Karen L. Schmidt
Department of Oral Biology, University of Pittsburgh
100 Technology Drive, Suite 500

Pittsburgh PA 15219

fax (412)648-8779
phone (412)624-3873
Please email me at:

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this site designed by K.L. Schmidt 12/00
last modified by K.L. Schmidt 12/09

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