Silvan S. Tomkins first interested us in the study of the face. His theory (Tomkins, 1962, 1963) provided the rationale for expecting that fine-grained measurement of the face was necessary and could provide useful information about the emotions. Viewing films together, Tomkins showed us how he interpreted facial movements. These demonstrations inspired our decision to attempt systematic measurement which could incorporate such wisdom. Silvan worked with us on our first attempt at facial measurement, the Facial Affect Scoring Technique (Ekman, Friesen, & Tomkins, 1971). While we have now abandoned that approach to facial measurement, much of our knowledge of how facial movement is related to emotion is based on that joint work.

Wade Seaford encouraged us to overcome our reluctance about learning anatomy. He showed us gaps in the Facial Affect Scoring Technique which had been developed without regard for the anatomical basis of facial movement. Suzanne Chevalier-Skolnikoff, during a post-doctoral research fellowship, gave us our first lessons in the neuroanatomy of facial behavior in the course of her own work on the evolution of the nervous system and parallel elaborations of the facial musculature (Chevalier— Skolnikoff, 1973). Harriet Oster, during the course of a post doctoral research fellowship, joined in helping us with the final revisions of the Facial Action Coding System. Based on the knowledge she acquired about developmental neuroanatomy of facial movement she made important contributions to the definition of certain Action Units.

A number of students and colleagues helped at various stages in the development of the Facial Action Coding System. Jerry Boucher, Phoebe Ellsworth and Susan Milmoe worked with us ten years ago in our first attempts at facial measurement. Three years ago, Paul Gronnerud, Joe Hager, Randall Harrison, Nina Honbo, John Johnson, Maureen O'Sullivan, Harriet Oster and Gowan Roper learned FACS. They made many suggestions for how to clarify and revise our instructions. A year ago, Sonia Ancoli, Charlotte Baker, Linda Camras, Rainer Krause, Verena Krause, Kathy Woodruff, and Blossom Young learned the version of FACS now published. Each of them provided help in numerous ways.

Nina Honbo deserves special thanks for her years of careful help as a research assistant on this project. Norma Hyatt and Wanda Matsubayashi gave patience and care to the typing of the Manual.

We are very grateful to the Clinical Research Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health for the many years they have supported our research (MH 11976). Without the long term support they provided we would not have been able to undertake the development of this facial measurement procedure which has extended over seven years. In particular, we thank Marty Katz, Hussain Tuma, and Jack Lasky for their help over many years in the administration of our grant. We are grateful also to Martin Orne, twice a site-visitor for NIMH, who gave very useful advise and criticism, and encouraged us to undertake the development of a fine-grained facial measurement system.

The Harry F. Guggenheim Foundation provided the support which gave us the time to format the Facial Action Coding System as a self-instructional package. Without their aid this measurement system would not now be available to other investigators.

San Francisco

December, 1977

Paul Ekman

Wallace V. Friesen


Chevalier-Skolnikoff, S. Facial expression of emotion in non-human primates. In P. Ekman (Ed.) Darwin and Facial Expression, New York, Academic Press, 1973.

Ekman, P., Friesen, WV., & Tomkins, S.S. Facial affect scoring technique, (FAST) a first validity study. Semiotica, 1971, 3(1), 37-38.

Tomkins, S.S. Affect, Imagery. Consciousness, (Vol. 1). New York, Springer Publishing Co. 1962.

Toukins, S.S. Affect, Imagery. Consciousness, (Vol. 2). New York, Springer Publishing Co. 1963.

A Human Face