What is FACES?

FACES is a lifespan database of adult emotional facial stimuli. FACES is a set of images of naturalistic faces of 171 women and men displaying each of six facial expressions: neutrality, sadness, disgust, fear, anger and happiness. The specialty of this collection is that it comprises pictures of individuals of three different age groups: young, middle-aged, and older.

Search results page of Faces

The database comprises two sets of pictures per person and per facial expression, resulting in a total of 2,052 images.

Functionalities of FACES

For an overview about all current FACES functionalities klick here.

  • Picture search based on the available attributes (currently ID, age group, gender, facial expression and picture group)
    Search in Faces based on available attributes

  • Detailed view of single pictures (and navigation within the pictures) and their attributes
    Detail of an image with related attributes

  • Creation and export of public and private subsets for the analysis of special research questions
  • Management of an unlimited quantity of attributes per picture (e.g. adding new attributes based on the output of rating studies)
  • User and rights management to realize different access rights

Benefits for the Researcher

  • Simple access from everywhere to the research materials via internet
  • Long term archiving of research materials
  • Persistent referencing of the collection and its subsets within publications
  • Improved visibility of the institute and its research data
  • Re-use of the primary data for complementary studies (e.g. rating studies) and other interdisciplinary research questions

Re-use of FACES

The FACES software allows to maintain collections of pictures which are usually enriched by attributes or metadata.

FACES provides a basic user management to control the access to the pictures, to enable the creation of subsets of the collection, to support the sharing of such subsets with selected users and to afford the publishing of subsets by a simple workflow.


Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Center for Lifespan Psychology · Berlin, Germany

The project is coordinated by Ursula Flitner, head of the institute’s library. The content of FACES was collected between 2005 and 2007 by Ulman Lindenberger, Natalie Ebner and Michaela Riediger. The content model of the FACES software design was influenced by the predecessor database developed at the institute by Matthias Bindernagel and Natalie Ebner.

More Information

  • can be found at our MPDL CoLaboratory, a wiki platform for sharing information, knowledge and experiences in the context of eScience and information management: Colab Pages for FACES. These pages also contain the functional specification.
  • Source code and binary releases

FACES Support

If you have a question about Faces or need help working with Faces, feel free to contact the Faces Support Team

You are deploying Faces on your own and have a technical question? Please join the Developer Community by subscribing to our eSciDoc Developer Mailing List or/and writing a technical support query to our Developer Team