(A FACS system adapted for rhesus macaques)

What MaqFACS is:

The Macaque Facial Action Coding System (MaqFACS) is a scientific observational tool for identifying and coding facial movements in rhesus macaques. The system is based on the facial anatomy of rhesus macaques and has been adapted from the original FACS system used for humans created by Ekman and Friesen (1978). The MaqFACS manual details how to use the system and code the facial movements of macaques objectively. The manual and certification is freely available (see below). 

More info regarding the development of this FACS system can be found here:

Parr, L.A., Waller, B.M., Burrows, A.M., Gothard, K.M. & Vick, S.J. (2010). MaqFACS: A muscle-based facial movement coding system for the macaque monkey. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 143 (4), 625-630.


What MaqFACS isn't:

MaqFACS is not an ethogram of facial expressions, and does not make any inference about any underlying emotion or context causing the movement. Instead this is an objective coding scheme with no assumption about what represents a facial expression in this species. It will not explicitally teach you macaque facial expressions. 

Accessing the manual

Accessing the Test

To access the MaqFACS manual, please fill out the form below. Further details, including a link to the manual, will be sent to the email which you provide. 

If you do not receive the manual within 24 hours (this is usually instant) please contact us. 

To become a certified MaqFACS coder, we encourage you to take the associated test. The MaqFACS test involves trainees to accurately code the facial movements in a series of video clips.

The materials for the test, and further instructions, can be found with the manual, and can also be accessed via the form below. 

The people behind it

MaqFACS was developed thanks to the joint effort of:

  • Lisa A. Parr, Emory University - Yerkes National Primate Research Center
  • Bridget M. Waller, Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth
  • Anne M. Burrows, Department of Physical Therapy, Duquesne University
  • Katalin M. Gothard, Department of Physiology, University of Arizona
  • Sarah-Jane Vick, University of Stirling


This project was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.


This investigation was supported by RR-00165 from the NIH/NCRR to the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and R03-MH082282 to L.A. Parr. The Yerkes National Primate Research Center is fully accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care.

Thanks to Dr. Andy Fuglevand and Dr.Fumihiro Kano for assistance with the development of the MaqFACS manual, and Ryan Huang and Prisca Zimmerman for assistance with video editing.