Micro-expression action unit detection with spatial and channel attention

Action Unit (AU) detection plays an important role in facial behaviour analysis. In the literature, AU detection has extensive researches in macro-expressions. However, to the best of our knowledge, there is limited research about AU analysis for micro-expressions. In this paper, we focus on AU detection in micro-expressions. Due to the small quantity and low intensity of micro-expression databases, micro-expression AU detection becomes challenging. To alleviate these problems, in this work, we propose a novel micro-expression AU detection method by utilizing self high-order statistics of spatio-wise and channel-wise features which can be considered as spatial and channel attentions, respectively. Through such spatial attention module, we expect to utilize rich relationship information of facial regions to increase the AU detection robustness on limited micro-expression samples. In addition, considering the low intensity of micro-expression AUs, we further propose to explore high-order statistics for better capturing subtle regional changes on face to obtain more discriminative AU features. Intensive experiments show that our proposed approach outperforms the basic framework by 0.0859 on CASME II, 0.0485 on CASME, and 0.0644 on SAMM in terms of the average F1-score.