Audio-Visual Fusion for Emotion Recognition in the Valence-Arousal Space Using Joint Cross-Attention

R Gnana Praveen, Eric Granger, Patrick Cardinal

Automatic emotion recognition (ER) has recently gained lot of interest due to its potential in many real-world applications. In this context, multimodal approaches have been shown to improve performance (over unimodal approaches) by combining diverse and complementary sources of information, providing some robustness to noisy and missing modalities. In this paper, we focus on dimensional ER based on the fusion of facial and vocal modalities extracted from videos, where complementary audio-visual (A-V) relationships are explored to predict an individual's emotional states in valence-arousal space. Most state-of-the-art fusion techniques rely on recurrent networks or conventional attention mechanisms that do not effectively leverage the complementary nature of A-V modalities. To address this problem, we introduce a joint cross-attentional model for A-V fusion that extracts the salient features across A-V modalities, that allows to effectively leverage the inter-modal relationships, while retaining the intra-modal relationships. In particular, it computes the cross-attention weights based on correlation between the joint feature representation and that of the individual modalities. By deploying the joint A-V feature representation into the cross-attention module, it helps to simultaneously leverage both the intra and inter modal relationships, thereby significantly improving the performance of the system over the vanilla cross-attention module. The effectiveness of our proposed approach is validated experimentally on challenging videos from the RECOLA and AffWild2 datasets. Results indicate that our joint cross-attentional A-V fusion model provides a cost-effective solution that can outperform state-of-the-art approaches, even when the modalities are noisy or absent.

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