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Facial Action Coding System

Facial Action Coding System

Facial Action Coding System (FACS) is a system to taxonomize human facial movements by their appearance on the face, based on a system originally developed by a Swedish anatomist named Carl-Herman Hjortsj.[1] It was later adopted by Paul Ekman and Wallace V. Friesen, and published in 1978.[2] Ekman, Friesen, and Joseph C. Hager published a significant update to FACS in 2002.[3] Movements of individual facial muscles are encoded by FACS from slight different instant changes Muscles of head and neck. [] in facial appearance. It is a common standard to systematically categorize the physical expression of emotions, and it has proven useful to psychologists and to animators. Due to subjectivity and time consumption issues, FACS has been established as a computed automated system that detects faces in videos, extracts the geometrical features of the faces, and then produces temporal profiles of each facial movement.[]

Using FACS,[4] human coders can manually code nearly any anatomically possible facial expression, deconstructing it into the specific Action Units (AU) and their temporal segments that produced the expression. As AUs are independent of any interpretation, they can be used for any higher order decision making process including recognition of basic emotions, or pre-programmed commands for an ambient intelligent environment. The FACS Manual is over 500 pages in length and provides the AUs, as well as Ekmans interpretation of their meaning. FACS defines AUs, which are a contraction or relaxation of one or more muscles. It also defines a number of Action Descriptors, which differ from AUs in that the authors of FACS have not specified the muscular basis for the action and have not distinguished specific behaviors as precisely as they have for the AUs. For example, FACS can be used to distinguish two types of smiles as follows:[] Insincere and voluntary Pan-Am smile: contraction of zygomatic major alone Sincere and involuntary Duchenne smile: contraction of zygomatic major and inferior part of orbicularis oculi. Although the labeling of expressions currently requires trained experts, researchers have had some success in using computers to automatically identify FACS codes, and thus quickly identify emotions.[5] Computer graphical face models, such as CANDIDE [6] or Artnatomy [7], allow expressions to be artificially posed by setting the desired action units. The use of FACS has been proposed for use in the analysis of depression,[] and the measurement of pain in patients unable to express themselves verbally.[] FACS is designed to be self-instructional. People can learn the technique from a number of sources including manuals and workshops,[8] and obtain certification through testing.[9] A variant of FACS has been developed to analyze facial expressions in chimpanzees.[] FACS can also be modified such that it can be used to compare facial repertoires across similar species, such as humans and chimpanzees. A study conducted by Vick and others (2006) suggests that FACS can be modified by taking differences in underlying morphology into account. Such considerations enable a comparison of the FACS

Facial Action Coding System present in humans and chimpanzees, to show that the facial expressions of both species result from extremely notable appearance changes. A cross-species analysis of facial expressions can help to answer the question of which emotions are uniquely human.[10] EMFACS (Emotional Facial Action Coding System)[11] and FACSAID (Facial Action Coding System Affect Interpretation Dictionary)[12] consider only emotion-related facial actions. Examples of these are:
Emotion Action Units

Happiness 6+12 Sadness Surprise Fear Anger Disgust 1+4+15 1+2+5B+26 1+2+4+5+20+26 4+5+7+23 9+15+16

Contempt R12A+R14A

Codes for Action Units

For clarification, FACS is an index of facial expressions, but does not actually provide any bio-mechanical information about the degree of muscle activation. Though muscle activation is not part of FACS, the main muscles involved in the facial expression have been added here for the benefit of the reader. Action Units (AUs) are the fundamental actions of individual muscles or groups of muscles. Action Descriptors (ADs) are unitary movements that may involve the actions of several muscle groups (e.g., a forwardthrusting movement of the jaw). The muscular basis for these actions hasnt been specified and specific behaviors havent been distinguished as precisely as for the AUs. For most accurate annotation, FACS suggests agreement from at least two independent certified FACS encoders.

Intensity Scoring
Intensities of FACS are annotated by appending letters AE (for minimal-maximial intensity) to the Action Unit number (e.g. AU 1A is the weakest trace of AU 1 and AU 1E is the maximum intensity possible for the individual person). A Trace B Slight C Marked or Pronounced D Severe or Extreme E Maximum

List of Action Units and Action Descriptors (with underlying facial muscles)
Main Codes

Facial Action Coding System

AU Number 0 1 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 face


Muscular Basis

Inner Brow Raiser Outer Brow Raiser Brow Lowerer Upper Lid Raiser Cheek Raiser Lid Tightener

frontalis (pars medialis) frontalis (pars lateralis) depressor glabellae, depressor supercilii, corrugator supercilii levator palpebrae superioris, superior tarsal muscle orbicularis oculi (pars orbitalis) orbicularis oculi (pars palpebralis)

Lips Toward Each Other orbicularis oris Nose Wrinkler Upper Lip Raiser Nasolabial Deepener Lip Corner Puller Sharp Lip Puller Dimpler Lip Corner Depressor Lower Lip Depressor Chin Raiser Lip Pucker Tongue Show Lip Stretcher Neck Tightener Lip Funneler Lip Tightener Lip Pressor Lips Part Jaw Drop Mouth Stretch Lip Suck Jaw Thrust Jaw Sideways Jaw Clencher [Lip] Bite [Cheek] Blow [Cheek] Puff [Cheek] Suck [Tongue] Bulge Lip Wipe Nostril Dilator nasalis (pars alaris) masseter risorius w/ platysma platysma orbicularis oris orbicularis oris orbicularis oris depressor labii inferioris, or relaxation of mentalis or orbicularis oris masseter; relaxed temporalis and internal pterygoid pterygoids, digastric orbicularis oris levator labii superioris alaeque nasi levator labii superioris, caput infraorbitalis zygomaticus minor zygomaticus major levator anguli oris (also known as caninus) buccinator depressor anguli oris (also known as triangularis) depressor labii inferioris mentalis incisivii labii superioris and incisivii labii inferioris

Facial Action Coding System

nasalis (pars transversa) and depressor septi nasi Separate Strand of AU 4: depressor glabellae (aka procerus) Separate Strand of AU 4: depressor supercilii Relaxation of levator palpebrae superioris Separate Strand of AU 4: corrugator supercilli Relaxation of levator palpebrae superioris; contraction of orbicularis oculi (pars palpebralis) orbicularis oculi

39 41 42 43 44 45 46

Nostril Compressor Glabella Lowerer Inner Eyebrow Lowerer Eyes Closed Eyebrow Gatherer Blink Wink

Head Movement Codes

AU Number 51 52 53 54 55 M55 56 M56 57 M57 58 M59 FACS Name Action

Head Turn Left Head Turn Right Head Up Head Down Head Tilt Left Head Tilt Left Head Tilt Right Head Tilt Right Head Forward Head Thrust Forward Head Back Head Shake Up and Down Head Shake Side to Side Head Upward and to the Side The onset of 17+24 is immediately preceded, accompanied, or followed by an up-down head shake (nod). The onset of 17+24 is immediately preceded, accompanied, or followed by a head thrust forward. The onset of the symmetrical 14 is immediately preceded or accompanied by a head tilt to the right. The onset of the symmetrical 14 is immediately preceded or accompanied by a head tilt to the left.


The onset of 17+24 is immediately preceded, accompanied, or followed by a side to side head shake.


The onset of the symmetrical 14 is immediately preceded or accompanied by a movement of the head, upward and turned and/or tilted to either the left or right.

Eye Movement Codes

AU Number 61 M61 62 M62 63 64 65 66 FACS Name Action

Eyes Turn Left Eyes Left Eyes Turn Right Eyes Right Eyes Up Eyes Down Walleye Cross-eye The onset of the symmetrical 14 is immediately preceded or accompanied by eye movement to the right. The onset of the symmetrical 14 is immediately preceded or accompanied by eye movement to the left.

Facial Action Coding System

M68 69

Upward Rolling of Eyes The onset of the symmetrical 14 is immediately preceded or accompanied by an upward rolling of the eyes. Eyes Positioned to Look The 4, 5, or 7, alone or in combination, occurs while the eye position is fixed on the other person in the at Other Person conversation. Head and/or Eyes Look at Other Person The onset of the symmetrical 14 or AUs 4, 5, and 7, alone or in combination, is immediately preceded or accompanied by a movement of the eyes or of the head and eyes to look at the other person in the conversation.


Visibility Codes
AU Number 70 71 72 73 74 FACS Name Brows and forehead not visible Eyes not visible Lower face not visible Entire face not visible Unscorable

Gross Behavior Codes These codes are reserved for recording information about gross behaviors that may be relevant to the facial actions that are scored.
AU Number 40 50 80 81 82 84 85 91 92 97* 98* Sniff Speech Swallow Chewing Shoulder shrug Head shake back and forth Head nod up and down Flash Partial flash Shiver/Tremble Fast up-down look FACS Name

Facial Action Coding System

[2] P. Ekman and W. Friesen. Facial Action Coding System: A Technique for the Measurement of Facial Movement. Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, 1978. [3] Paul Ekman, Wallace V. Friesen, and Joseph C. Hager. Facial Action Coding System: The Manual on CD ROM. A Human Face, Salt Lake City, 2002. [4] Freitas-Magalhes, A. (2012). Microexpression and macroexpression. In V. S. Ramachandran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Human Behavior (Vol. 2, pp.173-183). Oxford: Elsevier/Academic Press. ISBN 978-008-088-575-9x [5] Facial Action Coding System. (http:/ / www. cs. wpi. edu/ ~matt/ courses/ cs563/ talks/ face_anim/ ekman. html) Retrieved July 21, 2007. [6] http:/ / www. bk. isy. liu. se/ candide/ [7] http:/ / www. artnatomia. net/ uk/ index. html [8] http:/ / www. erikarosenberg. com/ FACS. html Example and web site of one teaching professional: Erika L. Rosenberg, Ph.D [9] http:/ / www. face-and-emotion. com/ dataface/ facs/ fft. jsp [11] Friesen, W.; Ekman, P. (1983). EMFACS-7: Emotional Facial Action Coding System. Unpublished manual, University of California, California. [12] http:/ / www. face-and-emotion. com/ dataface/ facsaid/ description. jsp Facial Action Coding System Affect Interpretation Dictionary (FACSAID)

External links
Paul Ekmans articles relating to FACS ( FACS Overview ( (accessed 21/02/2011) Sample of FACS Manual ( (accessed 21/02/2011) More information on the CHIMPFACS project ( New Yorker article discussing FACS ( Details from 1978 edition of FACS ( Site at WPI (

Article Sources and Contributors

Article Sources and Contributors

Facial Action Coding System Source: Contributors: 9eyedeel, Anajana, Aprch, Arcadian, Arnoutf, Axeman89, Bacchiad, Belovedfreak, Blahedo, Body Language Expert, COMPFUNK2, Connor Behan, Cowbert, Davechatting, David Nicoson, Droffilc, Elise t, ErkDemon, Fhaigia, FrenchIsAwesome, Gareth Jones, Gciriani, Hooperbloob, J04n, Jerika05, Jidanni, Josephhager, Kelly Martin, Laudak, MagneticFlux, MartinPoulter, Mattisse, Michael Hardy, Michael Snow, Mitch61, MrOllie, Njbetz, Norm mit, NotWith, Ntennis, Outriggr, Pegasovagante, Ph.eyes, Philippe Nicolai-Dashwood, Rbchristiansen, Rich Farmbrough, Rjwilmsi, Saga246, SamanHafizi, Samwb123, Shenshan, Sjvick, Twinsday, Vectro, Waldir, Xcentaur, 93 anonymous edits

Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors

File:Illu head neck muscle.jpg Source: License: Public Domain Contributors: Arcadian, Mani1, Mardetanha, McGeddon, Olaf Studt, Santosga, SummerWithMorons, Was a bee

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