Lower Sensitivity to Happy and Angry Facial Emotions in Young Adults with Psychiatric Problems

Charlotte Vrijen, Catharina A Hartman, G.M.A. Lodder, Maaike Verhagen, Peter de Jonge, Albertine J Oldehinkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Many psychiatric problem domains have been associated with emotion-specific biases or general deficiencies in facial emotion identification. However, both within and between psychiatric problem domains, large variability exists in the types of emotion identification problems that were reported. Moreover, since the domain-specificity of the findings was often not addressed, it remains unclear whether patterns found for specific problem domains can be better explained by co-occurrence of other psychiatric problems or by more generic characteristics of psychopathology, for example, problem severity. In this study, we aimed to investigate associations between emotion identification biases and five psychiatric problem domains, and to determine the domain-specificity of these biases. Data were collected as part of the No Fun No Glory study and involved 2,577 young adults. The study participants completed a dynamic facial emotion identification task involving happy, sad, angry, and fearful faces, and filled in the Adult Self-Report Questionnaire, of which we used the scales depressive problems, anxiety problems, avoidance problems, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) problems and antisocial problems. Our results suggest that participants with antisocial problems were significantly less sensitive to happy facial emotions, participants with ADHD problems were less sensitive to angry emotions, and participants with avoidance problems were less sensitive to both angry and happy emotions. These effects could not be fully explained by co-occurring psychiatric problems. Whereas this seems to indicate domain-specificity, inspection of the overall pattern of effect sizes regardless of statistical significance reveals generic patterns as well, in that for all psychiatric problem domains the effect sizes for happy and angry emotions were larger than the effect sizes for sad and fearful emotions. As happy and angry emotions are strongly associated with approach and avoidance mechanisms in social interaction, these mechanisms may hold the key to understanding the associations between facial emotion identification and a wide range of psychiatric problems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

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Young Adult
Self Report

Keywords

  • facial emotion processing
  • facial emotion identification
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • avoidant personality problems
  • attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • antisocial personality problems
  • young adults
  • DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER
  • RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL
  • HUMAN ORBITOFRONTAL CORTEX
  • SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER
  • MAJOR DEPRESSION
  • AMYGDALA RESPONSES
  • AFFECT RECOGNITION
  • EXPRESSIONS
  • AVOIDANCE
  • CHILDREN

Cite this

Vrijen, Charlotte ; Hartman, Catharina A ; Lodder, G.M.A. ; Verhagen, Maaike ; de Jonge, Peter ; Oldehinkel, Albertine J. / Lower Sensitivity to Happy and Angry Facial Emotions in Young Adults with Psychiatric Problems. In: Frontiers in Psychology. 2016 ; Vol. 7.
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title = "Lower Sensitivity to Happy and Angry Facial Emotions in Young Adults with Psychiatric Problems",
abstract = "Many psychiatric problem domains have been associated with emotion-specific biases or general deficiencies in facial emotion identification. However, both within and between psychiatric problem domains, large variability exists in the types of emotion identification problems that were reported. Moreover, since the domain-specificity of the findings was often not addressed, it remains unclear whether patterns found for specific problem domains can be better explained by co-occurrence of other psychiatric problems or by more generic characteristics of psychopathology, for example, problem severity. In this study, we aimed to investigate associations between emotion identification biases and five psychiatric problem domains, and to determine the domain-specificity of these biases. Data were collected as part of the No Fun No Glory study and involved 2,577 young adults. The study participants completed a dynamic facial emotion identification task involving happy, sad, angry, and fearful faces, and filled in the Adult Self-Report Questionnaire, of which we used the scales depressive problems, anxiety problems, avoidance problems, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) problems and antisocial problems. Our results suggest that participants with antisocial problems were significantly less sensitive to happy facial emotions, participants with ADHD problems were less sensitive to angry emotions, and participants with avoidance problems were less sensitive to both angry and happy emotions. These effects could not be fully explained by co-occurring psychiatric problems. Whereas this seems to indicate domain-specificity, inspection of the overall pattern of effect sizes regardless of statistical significance reveals generic patterns as well, in that for all psychiatric problem domains the effect sizes for happy and angry emotions were larger than the effect sizes for sad and fearful emotions. As happy and angry emotions are strongly associated with approach and avoidance mechanisms in social interaction, these mechanisms may hold the key to understanding the associations between facial emotion identification and a wide range of psychiatric problems.",
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author = "Charlotte Vrijen and Hartman, {Catharina A} and G.M.A. Lodder and Maaike Verhagen and {de Jonge}, Peter and Oldehinkel, {Albertine J}",
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Lower Sensitivity to Happy and Angry Facial Emotions in Young Adults with Psychiatric Problems. / Vrijen, Charlotte; Hartman, Catharina A; Lodder, G.M.A.; Verhagen, Maaike; de Jonge, Peter; Oldehinkel, Albertine J.

In: Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 7, 22.11.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Lower Sensitivity to Happy and Angry Facial Emotions in Young Adults with Psychiatric Problems

AU - Vrijen, Charlotte

AU - Hartman, Catharina A

AU - Lodder, G.M.A.

AU - Verhagen, Maaike

AU - de Jonge, Peter

AU - Oldehinkel, Albertine J

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N2 - Many psychiatric problem domains have been associated with emotion-specific biases or general deficiencies in facial emotion identification. However, both within and between psychiatric problem domains, large variability exists in the types of emotion identification problems that were reported. Moreover, since the domain-specificity of the findings was often not addressed, it remains unclear whether patterns found for specific problem domains can be better explained by co-occurrence of other psychiatric problems or by more generic characteristics of psychopathology, for example, problem severity. In this study, we aimed to investigate associations between emotion identification biases and five psychiatric problem domains, and to determine the domain-specificity of these biases. Data were collected as part of the No Fun No Glory study and involved 2,577 young adults. The study participants completed a dynamic facial emotion identification task involving happy, sad, angry, and fearful faces, and filled in the Adult Self-Report Questionnaire, of which we used the scales depressive problems, anxiety problems, avoidance problems, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) problems and antisocial problems. Our results suggest that participants with antisocial problems were significantly less sensitive to happy facial emotions, participants with ADHD problems were less sensitive to angry emotions, and participants with avoidance problems were less sensitive to both angry and happy emotions. These effects could not be fully explained by co-occurring psychiatric problems. Whereas this seems to indicate domain-specificity, inspection of the overall pattern of effect sizes regardless of statistical significance reveals generic patterns as well, in that for all psychiatric problem domains the effect sizes for happy and angry emotions were larger than the effect sizes for sad and fearful emotions. As happy and angry emotions are strongly associated with approach and avoidance mechanisms in social interaction, these mechanisms may hold the key to understanding the associations between facial emotion identification and a wide range of psychiatric problems.

AB - Many psychiatric problem domains have been associated with emotion-specific biases or general deficiencies in facial emotion identification. However, both within and between psychiatric problem domains, large variability exists in the types of emotion identification problems that were reported. Moreover, since the domain-specificity of the findings was often not addressed, it remains unclear whether patterns found for specific problem domains can be better explained by co-occurrence of other psychiatric problems or by more generic characteristics of psychopathology, for example, problem severity. In this study, we aimed to investigate associations between emotion identification biases and five psychiatric problem domains, and to determine the domain-specificity of these biases. Data were collected as part of the No Fun No Glory study and involved 2,577 young adults. The study participants completed a dynamic facial emotion identification task involving happy, sad, angry, and fearful faces, and filled in the Adult Self-Report Questionnaire, of which we used the scales depressive problems, anxiety problems, avoidance problems, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) problems and antisocial problems. Our results suggest that participants with antisocial problems were significantly less sensitive to happy facial emotions, participants with ADHD problems were less sensitive to angry emotions, and participants with avoidance problems were less sensitive to both angry and happy emotions. These effects could not be fully explained by co-occurring psychiatric problems. Whereas this seems to indicate domain-specificity, inspection of the overall pattern of effect sizes regardless of statistical significance reveals generic patterns as well, in that for all psychiatric problem domains the effect sizes for happy and angry emotions were larger than the effect sizes for sad and fearful emotions. As happy and angry emotions are strongly associated with approach and avoidance mechanisms in social interaction, these mechanisms may hold the key to understanding the associations between facial emotion identification and a wide range of psychiatric problems.

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KW - facial emotion identification

KW - depression

KW - anxiety

KW - avoidant personality problems

KW - attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

KW - antisocial personality problems

KW - young adults

KW - DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER

KW - RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL

KW - HUMAN ORBITOFRONTAL CORTEX

KW - SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER

KW - MAJOR DEPRESSION

KW - AMYGDALA RESPONSES

KW - AFFECT RECOGNITION

KW - EXPRESSIONS

KW - AVOIDANCE

KW - CHILDREN

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DO - 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01797

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VL - 7

JO - Frontiers in Psychology

JF - Frontiers in Psychology

SN - 1664-1078

ER -