Ekman Expression

Ekman Expression Shown in CharactersHave you ever heard of the theory of Ekman Expression? One of the major tools we use at Face Value Comics is the Ekman theory of emotions and facial expressions.

Dr. Paul Ekman’s theory is a refinement of the Facial Action Coding System (or FACS) of the Swedish anatomist Carl-Herman Hjortsjo. Paul Ekman and Wallace V. Friesen adapted and published their version of FACS in 1978. FACS was updated again in 2002.

The Ekman theory of emotions and facial expression states that there are six emotions that are expressed and labeled across cultures. They are anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. Ekman also developed a theory of micro-expressions, which reveal our true emotional state for fractions of a second.

This is all very interesting, you may be thinking, but what does it have to do with comic books or people with ASD? The really useful thing about Ekman expression is that he has catalogued the facial expressions for thousands of emotions. Since people with ASD often have a hard time reading others’ facial expressions, an explicit system for decoding emotions and expressions is very important for them to gain social confidence.

In Face Value Comics, we make use of the highly specific descriptions of how the face expresses emotion. The pictures are also labeled within the context of the story. This makes our comics very valuable for people with ASD. While reading a fun story, they will also learn how to read the emotions expressed on peoples’ faces. The Ekman theory of expression isn’t just a theory, it is actually an incredibly useful tool, especially when used in the right way.

At Face Value Comics we turn Ekman’s theory into real world learning by connecting emotions and expressions in a manner that kids and teens understand. We create visual comic books to bridge fun with learning through a system we call comic awareness.

© Face Value Comics 2013

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