What the Face Reveals: Basic and Applied Studies of Spontaneous Expression Using the Facial Action Coding System (Facs)

What the Face Reveals: Basic and Applied Studies of Spontaneous Expression Using the Facial Action Coding System (Facs)

What the Face Reveals: Basic and Applied Studies of Spontaneous Expression Using the Facial Action Coding System (Facs)

What the Face Reveals: Basic and Applied Studies of Spontaneous Expression Using the Facial Action Coding System (Facs)

Synopsis

While we have known for centuries that facial expressions can reveal what people are thinking and feeling, it is only recently that the face has been studied scientifically for what it can tell us about internal states, social behavior, and psychopathology. Today's widely available,sophisticated measuring systems have allowed us to conduct a wealth of new research on facial behavior that has contributed enormously to our understanding of the relationship between facial expression and human psychology. The chapters in this volume present the state-of-the-art in this research. They address key topics and questions, such as the dynamic and morphological differences between voluntary and involuntary expressions, the relationship between what people show on their faces and what they say they feel, whether it is possible to use facial behavior to draw distinctions amongpsychiatric populations, and how far research on automating facial measurement has progressed. The book also includes follow-up commentary on all of the original research presented and a concluding integration and critique of all the contributions made by Paul Ekman. As an essential reference for all those working in the area of facial analysis and expression, this volume will be indispensable for a wide range of professionals and students in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and behavioral medicine.

Excerpt

M. BREWSTER SMITH

What the Face Reveals is strong evidence for the fruitfulness of the systematic analysis of facial expression initiated by Paul Ekman and Wallace V. Friesen in 1976 and 1978; it will also become a valuable, even obligatory resource for all investigators who wish to use or understand the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), as Ekman and Friesen's approach is called. This book should also be of interest to a broader constituency than students of the face and of emotion: facial expression carries information about a wide range of phenomena, and findings reported here bear on significant issues in personality, psychopathology, and early development. As an outsider to the tradition in which Ekman works, I have been impressed by the important part he and his colleagues have played in restoring affect and emotion to an appropriately central place in human psychology.

Erika Rosenberg recounts the story in her introductory chapter: how behaviorism not only denigrated the inner experience of emotion but canonized bad data on the supposed cultural arbitrariness of emotional expression. After midcentury, Silvan Tomkins's ideas about the basic affects and their linkage to distinctive facial expression pointed the way, but his presentation and advocacy of these ideas were so idiosyncratic and difficult to penetrate that they became generally known only after Paul Ekman and Carroll Izard had undertaken groundbreaking research under his influence. For the last two decades, Ekman's group has been the principal contributor to this complement and sequel to the “cognitive revolution,” bringing affect back into the formulations of general psychology.

The detailed, laborious work with FACS reported in this book is also a substantial part of that contribution. It represents a real breakthrough in the study of facial expression. Virtually all previous research focused on the inferences observers draw from depicted or enacted facial expressions; it did not really examine what was going on in the face itself. This book is the first to bring together research that examines facial behavior directly. It bears strong witness to the fruitfulness of Ekman's approach to the study of spontaneous facial expression.

The articles reprinted in this volume date from 1982 to 1995, with the majority (15 . . .

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