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The Face
Mirror to our soul BARKHA SHAH 17/06/2013




INTRODUCTION For an appropriate introduction to a human face one should look around and be amazed by the variety of faces that are possible. Other than identical twins we can only find similarities between parents and their children and in some cases notice similar looking people who have no relation to each other. Earths human population is growing at an exponential rate and still how incredible it is that there are no repetitions. Thats the great design of our human genetics and the infinite number of combinations it can produce. In these genes, lies the secret to what controls our behavior, our reactions, our way of thinking, our emotions and the need to express these emotions, even how we look, our facial features, everything is already there coded in our genes. So it would be a foolish attempt to categorize the population under mere labels based on behavior, for our previous scholars tried to do based on just skin color and failed, just because of the fact of the wide range of possibilities. But it is possible to study the universality of emotions, the need to express these emotions, it doesnt matter which part of the world if one sees a person crying they cant help but sympathize, almost all will shout if pricked, dont we all feel a warmth if we see a smiling face. We all might look different, like different things, react in a different manner to fight or flight situations but we all are of the same mechanism. We all use the same muscles to express anger, we all use the same muscle to smile, and we all can understand an emotion through each others eyes. Still, there are many questions to be answered about the expression of emotions in human beings, like the effect of expression on the actual emotion, some psychologists say one should cry or express their grief even of you dont want to, to help deal with the grief of losing a loved one, actors use memory cues to help act more naturally. So the question is that if one keeps a frown all day, one will end up feeling sad even if there is nothing to be sad about? Next, what muscles are used for expression of different emotions, are they really universal and what is the duration and intensity of these expressions, why are they different for every trigger? Does the society and cultural background shape and sculpt our expressions with age and has it made our expressions more complex? Did our ancestors have the same range of expressions and did they use the same mechanism, if not how have we evolved? Are we similar to our primate cousins? Once these questions are dealt with then comes the discussion on physiognomy. Ancient Chinese used to predict ones future using their knowledge on the facial features, for example if you have narrow space between your eyes you will have better luck with money. These theories can be denied as folklore but further scientific studies are being done to study Physiognomy and Visage of faces to help built a database of relationship between facial features and human

character. And for the sake of debate, our genes control our behavior and it also controls the way we look, can it not be possible that there is a relationship between our behavior and our facial features from the grass root. The interest deepens as our curiosity for the human expression of emotions and there are many studies well underway to reveal more about them. But there are wider studies going on to find ways to apply these studies in our daily life. Some of the rudimentary features are already used by us in cracking interviews, choosing employees, counseling students. More over some complex areas like Micro-expressions are used by government intelligence agencies and psychologists to detect violent or suicidal individuals. The facial muscles have been coded and peoples are being trained to read movement of these muscles known as coders. They study the face in an anatomical manner associating codes to each movement with no imagination or emotional involvement eliminating many errors involved in reading an expression. This gives a precise data as to which muscle is associated to which emotion, its intensity, its duration and can help in revealing weather its genuine or fake. This application has wide u se in Human Resource, Investigative Intelligence, Anthropology, Management, Business, Counseling, Animation, Theaters and more depending how one chooses to use it.

The study of the evolution of emotions dates back to the 19th century. The theory of evolution and natural selection has been applied to the study of human communication, mainly by Charles Darwin in his 1872 work, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Darwin researched the expression of emotions in an effort to support his theory of evolution. He proposed that much like other traits found in animals, emotions also evolved and were adapted over time. His work looked at not only facial expressions in both humans and animals, but attempted to point out parallels between behaviors of the two. According to modern evolutionary theory, different emotions evolved at different times. Primal emotions, such as fear, are associated with ancient parts of the brain and presumably evolved among our pre-mammal ancestors. Filial emotions, such as a human mother's love for her offspring, seem to have evolved among early mammals. Social emotions, such as guilt and pride, evolved among social primates. Sometimes, a more recently evolved part of the brain moderates an older part of the brain, such as when the cortex moderates the amygdala's fear response. Evolutionary psychologists consider human emotions to be best adapted to the life our ancestors led in nomadic foraging bands. Darwin's original plan was to include his findings about expression of emotions in a chapter of his work, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (Darwin, 1871) but found that he had enough material for a whole book. It was based on observations, both those around him and of people in many parts of the world. One important observation he made was that even in individuals who were born blind, body and facial expressions displayed are similar to those of anyone else. The ideas found in his book on universality of emotions were intended to go against Sir Charles Bell's 1844 claim that human facial muscles were created to give them the unique ability to express emotions. The main purpose of Darwin's work was to support the theory of evolution by demonstrating that emotions in humans and other animals are similar. Most of the similarities he found were between species closely related, but he found some similarities between distantly related species as well. He proposed the idea that emotional states are adaptive, and therefore only those able to express certain emotions passed on their characteristics.

Darwin's Principles In the 1872 work, Darwin proposed three principles. The first of the three is the "principle of serviceable habits," which he defined as useful habits reinforced previously, and then inherited by offspring. He used as an example contracting of eyebrows (furrowing the brow), which he noted is serviceable to prevent too much light from entering the eyes. He also said that the raising of eyebrows serves to increase the field of vision. He cited examples of people attempting to remember something and raising their brows, as though they could "see" what they were trying to remember. The second of the principles is that of antithesis. While some habits are serviceable, Darwin proposed that some actions or habits are carried out merely because they are opposite in nature to a serviceable habit, but are not serviceable themselves. Shrugging of the shoulders is an example Darwin used of antithesis, because it has no service. Shoulder shrugging is a passive expression, and very opposite of a confident or aggressive expression. The third of the principles is expressive habits, or nervous discharge from the nervous system. This principle proposes that some habits are performed because of a build-up to the nervous system, which causes a discharge of the excitement. Examples include foot and finger tapping, as well as vocal expressions and expressions of anger. Darwin noted that many animals rarely make noises, even when in pain, but under extreme circumstances they vocalize in response to pain and fear.

Expressed emotions and adaptive functions

Expressed emotion

Initial physiological function

Evolved communicative function


Increased visual field and speed of Warning of potential threats. eye movement from widened eyes Appeasement to aggressor.


Increased visual field from widened More research needed eyes


Constriction of face openings Warning of dangerous reduce dangerous inhalations behaviors, and ideas



More research needed

Absence of threat


More research needed

Vision handicapped by tears to show appeasement. Gain sympathy.


More research needed

Warning of impending Signals dominance.



Increased lung preparation for challengers

volume in encountering Increased social status.


Reduces and hides vulnerable body Decreased social states. Wish for areas from potential attacks appeasement.

Robert Plutchik's psychoevolutionary theory of emotion is one of the most influential classification approaches for general emotional responses. He considered there to be eight primary emotionsanger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust, and joy. Plutchik proposed that these 'basic' emotions are biologically primitive and have evolved in order to increase the reproductive fitness of the animal. Plutchik argues for the primacy of these emotions by showing each to be the trigger of behavior with high survival value, such as the way fear inspires the fight-or-flight response. Plutchik's psychoevolutionary theory of basic emotions has ten postulates. 1. The concept of emotion is applicable to all evolutionary levels and applies to all animals including humans. 2. Emotions have an evolutionary history and have evolved various forms of expression in different species. 3. Emotions served an adaptive role in helping organisms deal with key survival issues posed by the environment. 4. Despite different forms of expression of emotions in different species, there are certain common elements, or prototype patterns, that can be identified. 5. There is a small number of basic, primary, or prototype emotions. 6. All other emotions are mixed or derivative states; that is, they occur as combinations, mixtures, or compounds of the primary emotions. 7. Primary emotions are hypothetical constructs or idealized states whose properties and characteristics can only be inferred from various kinds of evidence. 8. Primary emotions can be conceptualized in terms of pairs of polar opposites. 9. All emotions vary in their degree of similarity to one another. 10.Each emotion can exist in varying degrees of intensity or levels of arousal.


Carroll Izard, a psychologist who is known for his work with emotions, discussed gains and losses associated with the evolution of emotions. He noted that in evolution, humans gained the capability of expressing themselves with language, which contributed greatly to emotional evolution. Not only can humans articulate and share their emotions, they can use their experiences to foresee and take appropriate action in future experiences. He did, however, raise the question of whether or not humans have lost some of their empathy for one another, citing things such as murder and crime against one another as destructive. Paul Ekman is most noted in this field for conducting research involving facial expressions of emotions. His work provided data to back up Darwin's ideas about universality of facial expressions, even across cultures. He conducted research by showing photographs exhibiting expressions of basic emotion to people and asking them to identify what emotion was being expressed. In 1971, Ekman and Wallace Friesen presented to people in a preliterate culture a story involving a certain emotion, along with photographs of specific facial expressions. The photographs had been previously used in studies using subjects from Western cultures. When asked to choose, from two or three photographs, the emotion being expressed in the story, the preliterate subjects' choices matched those of the Western subjects most of the time. These results indicated that certain expressions are universally associated with particular emotions, even in instances in which the people had little or no exposure to Western culture. The only emotions the preliterate people found hard to distinguish between were fear and surprise. Ekman noted that while universal expressions do not necessarily prove Darwin's theory that they evolved, but they do provide strong evidence of the possibility. He mentioned the similarities between human expressions and those of other primates, as well as an overall universality of certain expressions to back up Darwin's ideas. The expressions of emotion that Ekman noted as most universal based on research are: anger, fear, disgust, sadness, and enjoyment. A common view is that facial expressions initially served a noncommunicative adaptive function. Thus, the widened eyes in the facial expression of fear have been shown to increase the visual field and the speed of moving the eyes which helps finding and following threats. The wrinkled nose and mouth of the facial expression of disgust limit the intake of foul-smelling and possibly dangerous air and particles. Later, such reactions, which could be observed by other members of the group, increasingly become more distinctive and exaggerated in order to fulfill a primarily socially communicative function. This communicative function can dramatically or subtly influence the behavior of other members in the group. Thus, rhesus monkeys or human infants can learn to fear potential dangers based on only the facial expressions of fear of other group members or parents. Seeing fear expressions increases the tendency for flight responses while seeing anger expressions increases the tendency for fight responses. Classical conditioning studies have found that it is easier to create a pairing between

a negative stimuli and anger/fear expressions than between a negative stimuli and a happiness expression. Cross-cultural studies and studies on the congenitally blind have found that these groups display the same expressions of shame and pride in situations related to social status. These expressions have clear similarities to displays of submission and dominance by other primates. Humans viewing expression of pride automatically assign a higher social status to such individuals than to those expressing other emotions. In a branch of philosophy and communications called semiotics, a distinction is made between the sign vehicle and the sign. The sign vehicle is the physical substrate from which the sign is composed, the energies that are the basis of the sign. Messages are composed of signs. The sign is a token that carries meaning, corresponding closely to the signal or symbol in Shannon's terminology, while the sign vehicle is the transmitter's medium and part of mechanisms for emitting signals. For the face, this means measuring muscular actions by the visible changes they produce in bulges, bags, pouches, wrinkles, shapes and positions of facial features. Sign vehicles for other body behaviors include the muscular actions that produce changes in the location, position, orientation, shape, size, color, and other characteristics of the body. These allow researchers who specialize in the meaning of such signals to determine their interpretation, if any, with as much freedom from prior filtering and reduction as possible. Functional analysis This approach focuses on relatively complex behaviors and their meaning. For example, Ekman & Friesen (1969) categorized the types of messages conveyed by nonverbal behaviors. Affect displays (emotions), including happiness, sadness, anger, disgust, surprise, and fear, convey messages about organismic states and are relatively automatic, involuntary, and stereotyped. The most specific of these messages are conveyed by the face, and some are the same in all known human cultures as we have established earlier. Emblems are learned, culture -specific symbolic communicators, such as the wink, that convey messages similar to short verbal phrases. Adaptors are self-manipulative movements, such as lip biting, that help manage body function. Illustrators are actions that accompany and highlight speech, su ch as a raised brow and the sweep of a hand. Regulators are nonverbal conversational mediators, such as nods or smiles. The variety of configurations, orientations, and locations that equivalent behaviors at this level might assume would seem to make them a difficult candidate for computational measurement.

Facial Signal Systems Ekman (1978) described the four general classes of sign vehicles by which the face conveys information. Static facial sign vehicles represent relatively permanent features of the face, such as the bony structure and soft tissue masses, that contribute to an individual's enduring appearance. Slow facial sign vehicles represent changes in the appearance of the face that occur gradually over time, such as the development of permanent wrinkles and changes in skin texture. Artificial sign vehicles represent features of the face determined artificially, such as eyeglasses and cosmetics. Rapid facial sign vehicles represent phasic changes in neuromuscular activity that lead to visually detectable changes in facial appearance. Ekman also discussed eighteen different classes of messages that can be derived from these sign vehicles. The face's rapid sign vehicles are relevant to signals about emotion and cognitive state, with the other three classes providing noise or background. These movements of the facial muscles pull the skin and tissues, temporarily distorting the shape of the eyes, brows, and lips, and the appearance of folds, furrows and bulges in different patches of skin. The changes in facial muscular activity typically are brief, lasting a few seconds; rarely do they endure more than five seconds or less than 250 ms., but can last for minutes or even hours, particularly in the case of crisis or pathology. The most useful terminology for describing or measuring facial actions refers to the production system -- the activity of specific muscles. These muscles may be designated by their Latin names or a numeric system. An alternative level of description involves terms such as smile, smirk, frown, sneer, etc. which are imprecise, ignoring differences between a variety of different muscular actions to which they may refer, and mixing description of the sign with inferences about meaning or the message which they may convey. Also there has been a noted difference in these rapid sign vehicles or muscles for emotion that an individual is actually feeling and the muscles used to express fake emotion. Even if the person is able to get the muscles correct using memory cues like any good actor there is lack of the chain that triggers an actual expression which thereafter changes the intensity and duration of the facial movement from that of an actual emotion. For example, a genuine expression of surprise only lasts for about 5seconds but it is prolonged in a fake expression in order to make it more believable for the on lookers.


NEED FOR EXPRESSION AND ITS EFFECTS The study of how the human body participates in communication has a long, diverse history in the fields of philosophy, communications, psychology, and social sciences. No one definition has emerged as perfect for every theorist and situation, but the idea that changes in the appearance of the body produce an effect in another person is often at the core of definitions of nonverbal communication. The basic question arising when understanding facial expression is, how do we express these emotions and how are they different from person to person? Investigated the question of whether any facial expressions of emotion are universal. Recent studies showing that members of literate cultures associated the same emotion concepts with the same facial behaviors could not demonstrate that at least some facial expressions of emotion are universal; the cultures compared had all been exposed to some of the same mass media presentations of facial expression, and these may have taught the people in each culture to recognize the unique facial expressions of other cultures. To show that members of a preliterate culture who had minimal exposure to literate cultures would associate the same emotion concepts with the same facial behaviors as do members of Western and Eastern literate cultures, data were gathered in New Guinea by telling 342 Ss a story, showing them a set of 3 faces, and asking them to select the face which showed the emotion appropriate to the story. Ss were members of the Fore linguistic-cultural group, which up until 12 yr. ago was an isolated, Neolithic, material culture. Results provide evidence in support of the hypothesis.


The term physiognomy derives from the Greek for judgment (gnomon) on nature (physis). Historically, physiognomy constitutes an activity which seeks to understand personality and identity by analyzing the body and especially the face. A form of knowledge with roots in Antiquity, physiognomy has a long history in Arab and western civilizations through the Middle Ages, and is also found in other cultures (Japan, China, India, etc.). Extensively revised in the Renaissance, the discipline suffered a lull of interest in the mid eighteenth century. It was revitalized from 1775 by the influential work of Swiss pastor, Johann Caspar Lavater. Basically, the term "physiognomy" refers to features of the face, especially so when, in the narrow sense, these features are used to infer the relatively enduring character or temperament of an individual. Although here, Physiognomy connotes a broader meaning, i.e., it refers to relatively unchanging facial features that might convey messages about any inner or hidden aspect of the person. Most of these facial features have as their basis the bony structure of the skull, on which the soft tissues lie. These features include the shapes and positions of major areas and landmarks of the face, such as the forehead, eyebrows, nose, cheeks, and mouth. The important facial features can be fairly accurately reconstructed by experts from the skull alone. A diagram of the human cranium shows the major features of the skull, from which much of the visible appearances of the face can be extrapolated. Other physiognomic features are not directly linked to the bony skull, such as skin texture and coloration, hair placement and texture, and detailed shapes of fleshy features. All of these features change slowly and relatively little over time, and they are the sign vehicles for physiognomic messages. Proposing an association between these facial features and other aspects of the person, including personality, character, outcomes of medical treatment, romantic compatibility, or the destiny of the person, is a physiognomic approach. The validity of the association or inference based on physiognomy is a separate issue that can be established or discredited by empirical evidence. Accurately face reading these signs depend upon knowing which relations are valid and which are spurious.

Images from: Le Brun, Caractres des Passions (1696)


What might such physiognomic messages be about? Well, logically, as the signs of physiognomy change little or slowly, they can only be about characteristics that are relatively enduring and that change little or not at all. Such messages might include a person's genetic background (e.g., race, ethnicity, and family membership), genetic diseases (e.g., Down's syndrome), and more fuzzy concepts such as personality, character, and temperament. These facial features are unlikely to convey messages about characteristics that change rapidly or often, such as a transient emotion, because they cannot capture such rapid changes in their time scale of change. However, the possibility remains that repeated transient experiences, such as an often elicited emotion, might cumulate an effect on such slowly changing features. Topics related to physiognomy: Throughout the period from 1500 to 1850, physiognomy touched, and had a bearing on, a very wide range of disciplines and activities. These include

the visual and performing arts (painting, sculpture, photography, literature, drama, etc, particularly through analysis of the expression of the passions); aesthetics (in debates over notions of beauty); theology and philosophy (the study of the face allegedly revealed the nature of the soul); anthropology (through facial analysis in different civilisations); law, government and criminology (notably through efforts to define criminal facial traits. Facial description featured in protocols developed for identifying vagrants, deviants and criminals from the Renaissance onwards); the occult sciences (physiognomy linked to astrology, palmistry and metoposcopy [the analysis of forehead lines and other facial markings]); political history (for example, analysis of facial gesture was a significant activity in royal courts from the Renaissance onwards. Physiognomy also made a significant contribution to the emergence of political caricature in the early nineteenth century); medicine (physiognomical analysis overlapped with medical semiotics, and also bore on prosthetic surgery); psychology and psychiatry (the analysis of an inner self through external signs has been held to prefigure modern psychiatry).


A microexpression is a brief, involuntary facial expression shown on the face of humans according to emotions experienced. They usually occur in high-stakes situations, where people have something to lose or gain. Microexpressions occur when a person is consciously trying to conceal all signs of how he or she is feeling, or when a person does not consciously know how he or she is feeling. Unlike regular facial expressions, it is difficult to hide microexpression reactions. Microexpressions express the seven universal emotions: disgust, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, surprise, and contempt. Nevertheless, in the 1990s, Paul Ekman expanded his list of basic emotions, including a range of positive and negative emotions not all of which are encoded in facial muscles. These emotions are amusement, contempt, embarrassment, excitement, guilt, pride, relief, satisfaction, pleasure, and shame. They are very brief in duration, lasting only 1/25 to 1/15 of a second. These may have always been there but knowing the increasing complexity of our societies and behavior, it can safely be said that these were adapted fairly recently by human beings. They are the perfect example for Darwins third principle of expressive habits, or nervous discharge. The basic evidence of it being so is its duration, no matter how much one is trying to hide an emotion the face has to emote it out of habit or nervous discharge. Haggard and Isaacs were the first to describe micro expressions (calling them micromomentary expressions), in their study of psychotherapeutic interviews. They explained the appearance of micros as the result of repression in which the patient did not know how he or she was feeling. Haggard and Isaacs also implied that micros could not be recognized at real time. Ekman and Friesen a few years later showed that with training anyone could learn to see micros at real time. Ekman & Friesen also broadened the explanation of why micros occur. Micro expressions occur when people deliberately try to conceal their feelings from others as well as when they have concealed their feelings from themselves through repression. Importantly, they look the same; you cannot tell from the micro itself whether it is the product of suppression or repression. There are four types of known microexpressions, Macro: normal expressions usually last between -second and 4 seconds. They often repeat, and fit with what is said and the sound of the persons voice. Micro: These are very brief, usually lasting between 1/15 and 1/25 of a second. They often display a concealed emotion and are the result of suppression or repression. False: A deliberately-made simulation of an emotion not being felt. Masked: A false expression made to cover a macro expression .

There is no sign of deceit itselfno gesture, facial expression, or muscle twitch that in and of itself means that a person is lying. There are only clues that the person is poorly prepared and clues of emotions that don't fit the person's line. These are what provide leakage or deception clues. Micro expressions are used as a way to detect if there is something off in a statement that a person mentions. They do not determine a lie but are a form of detecting concealed emotion. Dr. David Matsumoto explains that one must not conclude that someone is lying if a microexpression is detected but that there is more to the story than is being told. Facial expressions are not just uncontrolled instances. Some may be in fact voluntary, another involuntary; thus one may be truthful and another false. Facial expression may be controlled or uncontrolled. Some people are born able to control their expressions (such as pathological liars), while others are trained, for example actors. "Natural liars" know about their ability to control microexpressions, and so do those who know them well. They have been getting away with things since childhood, fooling their parents, teachers, and friends when they wanted to. People can simulate emotion expressions, attempting to create the impression that they feel an emotion when they are not experiencing it at all. A person may show an expression that looks like fear when in fact he feels nothing, or feels sadness or some other emotion. Facial expressions of emotion are controlled for various reasons, whether cultural or by social conventions. For example, in the United States many little boys learn the cultural display rule, "little men do not cry or look afraid." There are also more personal display rules, not learned by most people within a culture, but the product of the idiosyncrasies of a particular family. A child may be taught never to look angrily at his father, or never to show sadness when disappointed. These display rules, whether cultural ones shared by most people or personal, individual ones, are usually so well-learned, and learned so early, that the control of the facial expression they dictate is done automatically without thinking or awareness.



While studying the three principles of expression by Darwin, his first "principle of serviceable habits," is stated in the terms of our expression being adaptations due to the environment and they were inherited by the offspring. This can be very much valid for the cultural environment we are brought up in and can be responsible for the different behavioral pattern found in different communities. These patterns can be of speech, hand gestures, emotional sensibility, perceptions and these are not noticed until brought into an unfamiliar environment or when outsides ones own community. In the study, investigators examined how Dutch and Japanese people assess others emotions. Researchers determined Dutch people pay attention to the facial expression more than Japanese people do. On the other hand, Japanese people express emotion in the tone of voice, not in the face. I think Japanese people tend to hide their negative emotions by smiling, but its more difficult to hide negative emotions in the voice. says Akihiro Tanaka of Waseda Institute for Advanced Study in Japan. Therefore, Japanese people may be used to listening for emotional cues. This could lead to confusion when a Dutch person, who is used to the voice and the face matching, talks with a Japanese person; they may see a smiling face and think everything is fine, while failing to notice the upset tone in the voice. These differences can be seen in all the cultures but facial expressions are universal and all humans feel these emotions on a very similar pattern, the expression of these emotions and their interpretation is all together a different story. Classic research demonstrated that the intended emotions in posed expressions were recognized by members of many different cultural groups at rates better than predicted by random guessing. However, recent research has also documented evidence for an in-group advantage, meaning that people are generally more accurate at judging emotions when the emotions are expressed by members of their own cultural group rather than by members of a different cultural group. These new findings provide initial support for a dialect theory of emotion that has the potential to integrate both classic and recent findings. Further research in this area has the potential to improve cross-cultural communication.


Facial Action Coding System (FACS) is a system to taxonomy (process of classification or science of classification) human facial expressions. It is the most widely used and versatile method for measuring and describing facial behaviors. Paul Ekman and W.V. Friesen developed the original FACS in the 1970s by determining how the contraction of each facial muscle (singly and in combination with other muscles) changes the appearance of the face. They examined videotapes of facial behavior to identify the specific changes that occurred with muscular contractions and how best to differentiate one from another. They associated the appearance changes with the action of muscles that produced them by studying anatomy, reproducing the appearances, and palpating their faces. Their goal was to create a reliable means for skilled human scorers to determine the category or categories in which to fit each facial behavior. The FACS Manual was first published in a loose-leaf version with video or film supplements in 1978. It is a common standard to systematically categorize the physical expression of emotions, It has proven useful to psychologists, counselors, government agencies and more. Another terminology coming in relation with FACS are Action Units (AUs) and Action Descriptors (ADs). To decode almost all possibility of facial muscle movement during expression we need FACS, which deconstructing it into the specific Action Units (AU) and their temporal segments that produced the expression. These FACS measurement units are Action Units (AUs), not muscles, for two reasons. First, for a few appearances, more than one muscle was combined into a single AU because the changes in appearance they produced could not be distinguished. Second, the appearance changes produced by one muscle were sometimes separated into two or more AUs to represent relatively independent actions of different parts of the muscle. (After all, facial muscles were identified and named by anatomists, not behavioral psychologists.) AUs are independent of any interpretations; 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. To know more about this AU and AD, you may look for "Dr. Ekmans interpretation". He had described about the expression and its meaning. These are very important to understand the agony of patients, those who are unable to express themselves verbally, or to detect depression and sign of suicidal tendency, or to differentiate criminals and terrorist from a crowd.


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. A FACS coder "dissects" an observed expression, decomposing it into the specific AUs that produced the movement. The scores for a facial expression consist of the list of AUs that produced it. Duration, intensity, and asymmetry can also be recorded. 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 . In a simple language: FACS can be used to distinguish two types of smiles as follows: Insincere and voluntary Pan American 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. Computer Graphical (CG) face models, such as CANDIDE or Artnatomy, allow expressions to be artificially posed by setting the desired action units. The Facial Action Coding System (FACS) Manual is a detailed, technical guide that explains how to categorize facial behaviors based on the muscles that produce them, i.e., how muscular action is related to facial appearances. It illustrates appearance changes of the face using written descriptions, still images, and digital video examples. Behavioral scientists, CG animators, computer scientists interested in pattern recognition programs, and other technicians and scientists use FACS in their professional work when they need to know the exact movements that the face can perform, and what muscles produce them. Working through the exercises of the FACS Manual may also enable greater awareness of and sensitivity to subtle facial behaviors that could be useful for psychotherapists, interviewers, and other practitioners who must penetrate deeply into interpersonal communications.


The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, by Charles Darwin Facial expression and emotion. Ekman, Paul, American Psychologist, Vol 48(4), Apr 1993, 384-392 of emotion