Information and Activities

Scientific research

Under the coordination of Prof. Dr. Willibald Ruch the ZIEL team is dedicated to the use of the Facial Action Coding System (FACS; Ekman, Friesen & Hager, 2002). FACS enables the objective and reliable measurement of facial action units or events that combined relate to facial expression, which can assess all kinds of facial changes, emotion relevant, as well as actions that are emotionally irrelevant but equally important.

ZIEL is inspired by the work of Paul Ekman, now professor emeritus at the University of California at San Francisco. Paul Ekman is listed among the 100 most influential psychologists of the 20th century and he is one of the creators of FACS.

Recent publications including FACS

Hofmann, J., & Ruch, W. (2016). Gibt es ein Lachen der Schadenfreude? [Is there a laughter of schadenfreude?] Zeitschrift für Semiotik (Sonderheft Lachen) [Semiotics, Special Issue on Laughter].

Dupont, S. Cakmak, H., Curran, W., Dutoit, Th., Hofmann, J., McKeown, G., Pietiquin, O., Platt, T., Ruch, W., & Urbain, J. (2016). Laughter Research: a Review of the ILHAIRE Project. In A. Esposito and L. C. Chain (Eds.) Toward Robotic Socially Believable Behaving Systems - Volume I – Modelling Emotions (pp.147-181). New York, USA: Springer. Doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-31056-5_9

Hofmann, J., Platt, T., Ruch, W. & Proyer, R. (2015). Individual differences in gelotophobia predict responses to joy and contempt. Sage Open, 5(2), 1 – 12. doi: 10.1177/2158244015581191

Hofmann, J., Platt, T., Ruch, W., & Niewiadomski, R., Urbain, J. (2015). The influence of a virtual companion on amusement when watching funny films. Motivation and Emotion, 39, 434-447. doi: 10.1007/s11031-014-9461-y

Ruch, W., Hofmann, J., & Platt, T. (2015). Individual differences in gelotophobia and responses to laughter-eliciting emotions. Personality and Individual Differences, 72, 117 – 121. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.08.034

Hofmann, J. (2014). Intense or malicious? The decoding of eyebrow-lowering frowning in laughter animations depends on the presentation mode. Frontiers in Psychology, 5:1306. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01306

Platt, T., Hofmann, J., Ruch, W., & Proyer, R. T. (2013). Duchenne Display responses towards sixteen enjoyable emotions: Individual differences between no and fear of being laughed at. Motivation and Emotion, 37, 776–786. doi:10.1007/s11031-013-9342-9.

Ruch, W., Hofmann, J., & Platt, T. (2013). Investigating facial features of four types of laughter in historic illustrations. European Journal of Humor Research, 1(1), 98-118.

FACS trainings

FACSintern
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Internships for students: FACS coders are trained to observe facial expressions and decompose them into their Action Units. The AU’s are scored and these individual scores collected together will allow the whole facial expression to be coded. Training, to become a certified FACS coder can be obtained in three ways. The first two incur costs, which must be met by the student FACS coder. These only train you up to being certified. 

First, you can learn FACS independently. The FACS Manual CD Rom can be purchased from here. It takes around 100 hours of working through the manual to be competent enough to take the FACS Final Test. The FACS Final Test is sent for scoring and once successful your certificate is sent to you.

Alternatively, you can attend one of our training workshops. You will attend to a class with a group of other trainees and will be taught the AU’s and the subtle differences within the FACS Manual. Each day you will practice coding, learning to score and more importantly, learn to judge differences in AU’s of similar appearance, which is done with the trainer who is there to guide you and answer your questions.

Noldus
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The third way is to do an internship with ZIEL. The benefits of the ZIEL training is that you get first-hand training from a certified FACS coding team. These experienced researchers are conducting studies and using FACS full time. You will be invited to join in ongoing studies, thus applying FACS in a practical way, helping with all aspects of research. By being part of a FACS study in each of the stages, you will learn about aspects of the planning, organising and working on a study using your FACS knowledge. Not only will you will learn to code video clips, you will be trained in using Noldus Observer logging software programme that allows the collection, analysis, and presentation of observational data and also get experience in analysing the data you have collected.

If you are interested in a ZIEL internship and currently enrolled in a university course of the Institute for Psychology, please contact Jennifer Hofmann for further information.

The ZIEL team offers training that can be targeted to specific research and applied or commercial needs.

Two-day (16-hour) comprehensive training: This course is only offered to those with some own reading and prior knowledge of FACS techniques. The course provides a full overview of all action units, practice coding and full feedback with discussion on different action unit combinations and subtle differences. The emphasis of this course is to train the identification of full action events that will assist in the FFT.

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Five-day (40-hour) comprehensive training: This course is offered to those with only the reading of the first two chapters of the FACS manual. Each action unit, as well as the subtle differences required to identify each component of an action event will be reviewed. This is a very intensive training with practice coding homework to be done each night. At the end of the week students are ready to sign up for the FFT.

ZIEL’s selected training packages: are designed specifically to the audience, showing how FACS can be used anywhere that understanding the emotional reactions of others is interesting or advantageous. This training can range from many applied areas such as marketing, negotiation, communications, and can be from a one-hour talk given by one of the ZIEL team, to full training days designed around your own area of interest.

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FACS Consultancy

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The ZIEL team are available for lectures, training and consultancy tailor made to your audience needs. Linking FACS to emotion is a valuable communication skill that can be applied to many commercial activities. We offer training on reading the non-verbal communication language of emotional facial expressions applying the knowledge based on cutting edge scientific research.

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Paul Ekman and Willibald Ruch at the 11th European Conference on Facial Expression 13 - 16 September 2005 Durham University UK
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Visiting Paul Ekman and Ekman International in 2012.
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Visiting Dacher Keltner in Berkeley 2012
Willibald Ruch spent time visiting Paul Ekman in 1998 in the Human Interaction Laboratory during a Heisenberg-Fellowship
Willibald Ruch spent time visiting Paul Ekman in 1998 in the Human Interaction Laboratory during a Heisenberg-Fellowship

Ekman’s Human Interaction Laboratory (HIL) at Parnassus Ave was the home-place of many important discoveries, from the development of FACS and the existence of global emotion signals found by researching indigenous people of Papua New Guinea, to the re-confirmation of the smile that is connected to felt emotion of joy, the Duchenne Display so named after a French neurologist Duchenne de Boulogne who introduced it into the scientific literature in 1863. Ekman’s lab was also responsible for identifying facial signs for lying or micro-expressions and furthering our knowledge of emotions and emotional expression.