Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy the FACS manual?

Paul Ekman Group is the sole authorized provider of the FACS manual and administrator of the FACS final test.

What is the difference between FACS and Paul Ekman’s F.A.C.E.S.?

You may have a fundamental confusion between FACS (the Facial Action Coding System, originally published by Ekman & Friesen in 1978) and Paul Ekman’s recent online training program called F.A.C.E.S. Confusion is understandable given how close the two names are.

F.A.C.E.S. is an online training for lay level people in emotion recognition, with an emphasis of microexpression recognition. You will have to contact Paul Ekman’s office for F.A.C.E.S. Information.

FACS (the Facial Action Coding System) is a comprehensive, anatomically based system for describing all visually discernable facial movement. It takes at least 100 hours of self-study to learn and it has been used extensively in a wide variety of medical, psychological research, and commercial contexts. FACS is recognized as the gold standard facial measurement system in scientific research and animation. You can learn FACS the traditional, self-guided way, of through a workshop. Since 2004 Dr. Rosenberg has offered 5-day training workshops in FACS, which you can read more about here.

Is FACS training right for me?

You can read a description of FACS training and learn if it is suitable for you here.

How do I find out about future workshops?

You can find a list of upcoming workshop here and as well as subscribing to the mailing list for the latest announcements.

How much does the FACS workshop cost?

Prices for the 5-day FACS workshop vary, depending on the costs in arranging the event (room rentals, etc). Currently (Spring 2015), registration for the 5-day FACS training varies from $800-$1000 ($600-$800 for students). Everyone who learns FACS must also purchase the manual, which is available for $350 USD from Paul Ekman, the sole authorized provider of the FACS manual and administrator of the FACS final test.

Can I learn FACS on my own?

FACS was originally designed to be self-instructional and most people still learn that way. You are can order the manual and go through it step by step, making sure to do all the coding practice. Then you can take the final test for certification. Paul Ekman Group is the only authorized seller of the manual and administers the final test (even people who take my workshop do their testing through this site).

How do I find out more about EMFACS?

EMFACS (Emotion FACS), is a selective application of FACS scoring, in which the coders only scores behavior that is likely to have emotional significance. To do this, the coder scans the video for core combinations of events that have been found to suggest certain emotions (much like the prototypes in Table 10-2). The coders only codes the events in a video record that contains such core combinations — they use FACS coding to score those events, but they are not coding everything on the video. So EMFACS is FACS selectively applied. So it saves a lot of time as you are not coding everything. The drawback — and this is BIG — is that it is harder in my experience to get intercoder agreement on EMFACS coding as the coders have to agree on two things : 1) whether to code an event (a result of their online scanning of the video for the core combinations) and 2) how to code those events that they have chosen to code. In the end, it can be a nightmare. I refuse to use EMFACS coding with inexperienced coders. For experienced FACS coders, however, it can be a big time saver for people only interested in emotion. Bear in mind, EMFACS coding still yields FACS codes, so the data have to be interpreted into emotion categories.

EMFACS instructions are available to any FACS coder who has passed the final test. The reason is that we have to make sure people have mastery of FACS before applying rules to use FACS selectively in this way. This is based on the wishes of the authors of EMFACS — Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen. If you take the final test and pass, you can obtain the EMFACS document.

What kind of career can I get with FACS training?

FACS is a tool, not a career. It was originally developed to be used for research on emotion and deception, though more recently people have begun applying it to business, legal, and law enforcement contexts. People who have FACS certification are qualified to FACS code, and there are people who hire FACS coders, but unless you do your own work in some substantive area of application of FACS (in an area of advanced study), it is not a career per se. In order for it to move from job to career you have to gain some expertise not only in coding but in study of how it relates to behavior in particular contexts.

How do I become a lie detector like Cal Lightman in Lie To Me?

There is no such job as a lie detector, Lie To Me was a television show very loosely based on my mentor Dr. Paul Ekman; however, it was for entertainment. That said, the producers responsibly allowed Dr. Ekman to write a blog after each show critiquing the accuracy of the science. And FOX employed me as a scientific consultant on all story lines.

What training /education do I need to be like “ Cal Lightman”?

Graduate training in psychology in the following areas of emotion, social, behavioral, neuro, forensic….is a good option.