The Facial Action Coding System (FACS) is a widely used protocol for recognizing and labeling facial expression by describing the movement of muscles of the face. FACS is used to objectively measure the frequency and intensity of facial expressions without assigning any emotional meaning to those muscle movements. Instead, FACS breaks down facial expressions into their smallest discernable movements called action units. Each action unit creates a distinct change in facial appearance, such as an eyebrow lift or nose wrinkle. FACS coders can identify the action units that are present on the face when viewing still images or videos. Psychological research has used FACS to examine a variety of research questions including social-emotional development, neuropsychiatric disorders, and deception. This entry provides an overview ...
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