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Practical   Workshop 
November 17th, 09:45-13:45 CET
December 7th, 10:00-12:40 CET
Link to registration form

Are you interested in animal facial expressions?

Would you like to learn about AnimalFACS - unique tools to objectively measure facial expressions?

Then take part in this workshop on AnimalFACS!



Facial expressions are widespread in the mammalian order, but have only recently started to be studied systematically in non-human animals. The Facial Action Coding System (FACS), which has been developed for different animal species, is an objective tool to identify and code facial movements. When combined with recent advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, AnimalFACS may offer exciting new opportunities for the investigation of facial expressions as cues for animal communication and/or emotion.


Following the success of our First Workshop on Research Methods in Animal Emotion Analysis, we are now hosting the first HANDS ON, practical workshop on the use of AnimalFACS for research and practice. The workshop will include two days of online meetings, and independent work in groups with the support of our workshop organisers.

What are the AnimalFACS?

Adapted from the widely used FACS (Facial Action Coding System, Ekman et al 1978) tool to investigate human facial behaviour, a range of AnimalFACS tools have been published for over 11 different species, including chimpanzees, orangutans, gibbons and siamangs, rhesus, Barbary, crested and Japanese macaques, dogs, cats and horses. These tools have been developed by a range of highly specialised research teams and are all freely available at


Why should you participate in an AnimalFACS workshop?

Learning one of the AnimalFACS requires time and practice. During AnimalFACS learning, many questions may come to mind in how to code certain movements or how to apply AnimalFACS as tools. This workshop’s purpose is to provide an interactive and supported way to complement the self-learning of your chosen AnimalFACS manual with interactive group exercises, and practice sessions, accompanied by expert tutoring and support.

Whether you are currently learning AnimalFACS or just starting, this course will teach you about the AnimalFACS tools through a facilitated workshop.

This workshop on AnimalFACS is based on an objective, anatomical and systematic coding tool, that has become the universal standard in measuring and understanding facial behaviour in humans for over 40 years, and more recently, in non-human animals, for over 15 years.

What will you learn in this workshop? 

Participants can get trained and certified in one of the following AnimalFACS: OrangFACS (for orangutans), MaqFACS (initial certification for rhesus macaques, and extensions available for Barbary, Crested and Japanese macaques), GibbonFACS (for hylobatids), EquiFACS (for horses), DogFACS (for domestic dogs), CatFACS (for domestic cats).

During this workshop participants are expected to:

  1. Gain knowledge on AnimalFACS as objective tools to identify and describe facial expressions in a variety of species;

  2. Understand what are the advantages and limitations of using AnimalFACS, and how automated systems are aiming at decreasing FACS limitations;

  3. Learn how AnimalFACS have been used in the past and how participants can use these tools in their research or animal-related profession when working with their chosen species;

  4. Develop practical skills to use AnimalFACS for their chosen animal species and on how to code facial behaviour;

  5. Take an AnimalFACS certification test  to become a FACS coder for their chosen animal species.

Note: In order to become certified in the AnimalFACS species of your choice, you need to pass the test for that species manual available on This workshop will prepare you as best as possible for passing the tests.

Link to registration form



First Session: November 17th, 9:45 CET (8:45 GMT) 

This session will provide basic knowledge on AnimalFACS and behaviour coding to get yourself prepared for your hands-on work.

All times are in CET, to view the time in your timezone press on the times below.

Opening & Introductions.

Practical Exercise, Catia Caeiro.

Bridget Waller, Nottingham Trent University.

Introduction to FACS, Catia Caeiro.

Introduction to behavioral coding, Annika Bremhorst & Sabrina Karl.

Coding Behavior with BORIS, Winking at Facial Expression Research, Marco Gamba & Olivier Friard, University of Turin.

Group forming and Q&A session. Sabrina Karl

& Anna Zamansky.

Independent Work: November 17th - December 7th

Participants will have the choice of either working on their own or working together with other participants that are studying the AnimalFACS manual of the same species. Using Discord as a supporting platform, this may include activities such as:

  • Online discussions about the manual (e.g. through writing or video calls)

  • Posting questions to other participants or the organizers

  • Performing practice coding of additional videos. 

Participants’ work throughout this period will be supported online asynchronously by the workshop organizers.

Second Session: December 7th, 10:00 CET (9:00 GMT)

This session gives you the opportunity to discuss your coding experiences and questions with all other participants, shows you how AnimalFACS have been used in previous studies and how AI can get involved.

Summary and Q&A, Catia Caeiro.

Practical Exercise, Catia Caeiro.

A review of AI&ML for animal behavior animalFACS analysis automatization, Anna Zamansky

Explanation about animalFACS certification process, Catia Caeiro.

The recording of the talk "A review of previous applications of animalFACS"by Annika Bremhorst & Sabrina Karl will be sent after the workshop.


Anni1 (1).jpg

Annika Bremhorst

Independent Researcher

Certified in: DogFACS.

Portait with Schnee.jpg

Sabrina Karl

Comparative Cognition, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


Catia Caeiro

Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Japan.

Certified in: HumanFACS, ChimpFACS, OrangFACS, MaqFACS, GibbonFACS, EquiFACS, DogFACS, CatFACS.


Anna Zamansky

Tech4Animals Lab, Information Systems Department, University of Haifa.

In collaboration with Prof. Bridget Waller, Nottingham Trent University, UK.



Participation in the workshop is free, but requires registration. 

Please fill the registration form here

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