Basic emotions and psychological distress: association between recognition of facial expressions and symptom checklist-90 subscales

Csukly, Gábor and Czobor, Pál and Simon, Lajos and Takács, Barnabás (2008) Basic emotions and psychological distress: association between recognition of facial expressions and symptom checklist-90 subscales. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 49 (2). pp. 177-183.

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Abstract

Objective Cross-cultural studies have demonstrated universal similarity in the recognition and expression of basic emotions in facial expressions. The so-called mood congruency effect, observed primarily in clinical populations, implies that subjects with depressed mood tend to judge positive emotions as neutral and neutral faces as negative. The objective was to investigate whether a mood congruency effect can be detected in case of mild impairments among healthy subjects. First, it was hypothesized that subjects with mild psychiatric symptom distress have poorer performance in affective facial recognition in general. Second, it was also hypothesized that these subjects have poorer functioning in neutral face recognition and that they are prone to attribute negative emotions, for example, sadness and fear to neutral faces. Third, it was also assumed that people with mild psychiatric symptom distress have poor performance in recognizing positive emotions. Methods Pictures representing the basic emotions were used to examine the recognition of facial emotions; the Symptom Checklist-90 was obtained to quantify overall psychological distress and the severity of psychiatric symptoms on 9 primary symptom dimensions, including somatization, obsessive-compulsive, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, and psychoticism. One hundred seventeen healthy volunteers were recruited for the purpose of the study. Results Consistent with the first hypothesis, results indicated a significant negative association between the overall recognition rate of facial expressions and the level of psychiatric symptoms in a healthy population. Consistent with the second hypothesis, the level of psychiatric symptoms was related inversely with the neutral facial expression recognition and directly with the negative bias in neutral facial expressions. However, our data did not support the assumption that people with mild psychiatric symptom distress would have a poorer performance in recognizing positive emotions. Conclusions These findings support the notion that difficulties in emotion processing in general and in neutral face recognition, including a negative bias in particular, are strongly related to psychological distress and the severity of psychiatric symptoms in a healthy population.

Item Type: ISI Article
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics and Computer Science > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science / számítástechnika, számítógéptudomány
Depositing User: Eszter Nagy
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2012 15:31
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2012 15:31
URI: http://eprints.sztaki.hu/id/eprint/5358

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