Vorträge der Steirischen Gesellschaft für Psychologie

The aim of the talk is to show how Facial Action Coding System (FACS; Ekman, Friesen, & Hager, 2002) can be applied in research, but also in any practical field where social interactions and the understanding of human emotions in important (e.g., therapy, human resource management etc.). The FACS objectively measures facial expressions and movements.
Based on an anatomical analysis of facial action, 44 basic units are distinguished and basic parameters such as frequency, intensity, duration, or symmetry of any unit can be scored. FACS offers a sophisticated method for describing facial movements and their relation to emotions. It allows a distinction among different smiles and laughs: While 14-18 different smiles have been distinguished, only one of them is linked to positive affect (the so called Duchenne smile). FACS therefore is an ideal tool for research of the emotional responses to humour, positive emotions and social interactions in general. Due to its psychometric characteristics (highly reliable and valid, objective assessment), this method has proven to be superior to other methods of assessing human facial expression (like the mirth index).
The talk will provide information for identification of the most important Action Units (AUs) relevant for smiling and laughter (e.g., further action units relevant for emotions. Further, recent research findings applying FACS in humour research will be presented.