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NYU Analysis Finds Fey's Palin Near Perfect

This story was written by Kelly Roberts, Washington Square News

When Tina Fey appeared on Saturday Night Live in a red power suit, winking and mavericking, viewers immediately knew: Theres Sarah Palin. And according to NYU researchers, the resemblance has more to it than glasses and an updo.NYUs Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences found that Fey not only looks and sounds like Palin, she moves like her, too.An analysis of Feys performance was studied by the GreenDot Project, which examines human motion. Scientists hope to eventually use this biometric technology to tell not only who someone is, but also their emotional state and cultural background.The video studied was from the SNL episode in October that featured appearances from both Fey and Palin. The study measured the Palin-ness of facial and body movement by recognizing patterns of unique motion in a given scene. In the corner of the screen, a pink bar measured how similar Feys motions were to Palins.When Palin came on-screen later in the video, viewers could see the level of the pink bar stayed relatively even. At some points, Fey was more Palin-esque than the former vice-presidential candidate herself.Research also tried to compare the motions of Barack Obama and John McCain to other foreign leaders. The dots showed that Obama is surprisingly similar to French President Nicolas Sarkozy.He has a totally different body language than German Angela Merkel, but similar to Nikolai, head researcher Chris Bregler said. Were not trying to interpret those results; thats normally done by psychologists. Were just reporting back. We leave it to others to read that maybe Obama and Sarkozy are similar in character.Surprisingly, however, researchers also found that Obama is more similar to George W. Bush than McCain.McCain has much more bound motion, Bregler said. Bush in that video has more free flow, which is why hes closer to Obama, whos much looser than McCain. We also thought that since [Hillary] Clinton and Obama were fighting each other so much during the primaries, they must be totally different, but in the big scale of international politics, theyre not.Currently, there is a 20 percent error rate on the findings of the GreenDot program. The Courant Institute is waiting on confirmation of funding that will allow them to continue research for the next three years, just in time for the 2012 primaries to start.
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