Wally Friesen: recent publications

The History of the Facial Action Coding System (FACS)

In my cross-cultural studies researching display rules, I developed and published a tool for measuring facial movements, the Facial Affect Scoring Technique (FAST). A year after it was published, an anthropologist, Wade Seaford, showed me a facial movement on his own face that was not included in FAST. I was devastated by Wade’s demonstration, not knowing how much else, how many other facial movements we had missed in creating FAST.

The only way to have a comprehensive system, to include everything the face can and sometimes does do, would be to base it on how the muscles worked to change facial appearance, the anatomy of facial movement. And that is what we did, albeit reluctantly.I had no choice. I knew that if I was to develop a comprehensive system of facial measurement I would have to learn facial anatomy.

I ended up creating a functional anatomy, illustrating in text, photographs, and film, how muscular actions change facial appearance. A topic largely heretofore ignored because there is no medical intervention that required it.I was cautioned that the endeavor to catalog all facial movements would be too complicated. I was cautioned I would get lost and very likely fail.

Wally Friesen was also reluctant, but once I started, Wally became thoroughly engaged and was a true partner in developing the facial action coding system. My motivation for taking on this daunting task was twofold: I knew we would need a very precise and sensitive facial measurement tool to spot clues to deceit in the face, and I wanted to make it possible for any scientist to extract the information Silvan Tomkins was able to see in expressions. Also, I had to provide a substitute for FAST, since I now knew it was incomplete. Just how incomplete

. emotions action Provident
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