Facial Action Coding System (FACS)

In media and market research, a system for analyzing facial expressions to infer emotion. FACS identifies and classifies facial expressions into core emotions. The term “FACS/Facial Action Coding System” is often used interchangeably with the term Facial Coding.

Facial Coding

A measurement of the movements of the facial musculature with the goal of capturing expressed emotion (see “Emotions”). In media and market research, the most common variant uses camera-based computer vision to measure participants’ faces while experiencing a marketing stimulus such as video advertising, video promotions or program content. Software based algorithms are then used to evaluate the type of facial response (such as happy, sad, angry, fearful, disgust). Also referred to as “Facial Expression Analysis.” The term “Facial Coding” is often used interchangeably with the less preferred term “FACS/Facial Action Coding System.” See also “fEMG/Facial Electromyography.”

Facial Electromyography (fEMG)

fEMG is used to measure which facial muscles are being contracted, by measuring the underlying electrical activity of one or more sets of activated muscles (under contraction). In doing so, it helps to understand the expressed emotion on an individual’s face. fEMG is typically a more sensitive measure than FACS, but it does require the use of sensors and cables, whereas FACS only requires a trained observer or camera.


In film and video editing, the term may refer to a “dissolve” (where one image gradually dissolves into, and is replaced by another) or to a “fade in” (where a blank screen gradually transitions to be replaced by an image or scene) or to a “fade out” (where an image or scene gradually transitions to be replaced by a blank screen). These may be used to create different effects (for example, the effect of time passing when used in a montage).

Fear Appeals

An approach to creative that seeks to evoke fear in consumers in order to persuade them to avoid something or take a certain course of action; commonly used in public service and political ads.

Feeling State

The connection between an emotional response (see “Emotions”) and a specific feeling.

Film Noir/Cult film (creative genre)

A type of advertising genre inspired by 1940’s and 1950’s film noir cinema. The genre is characterized by elements such as a thriller or detective storyline, cynical characters, and a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace. This genre is usually produced in black and white rather than color, with a 1940’s-1950’s feeling.”


Information that is discovered as a result of a research study or investigation. The term “Finding” should not be confused with the term “Insight.” Findings are measured through research, are informative and are generally considered synonymous with the word result. Insights are deduced from research findings.

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