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Relationship between types of anxiety and the ability to recognize facial expressions.

Fujihara, Y., Guo, K. and Liu, C., 2023. Relationship between types of anxiety and the ability to recognize facial expressions. Acta Psychologica, 241, 104100.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2023.104100


This study examined whether three subtypes of anxiety (trait anxiety, state anxiety, and social anxiety) have different effects on recognition of facial expressions. One hundred and thirty-eight participants matched facial expressions of three intensity levels (20 %, 40 %, 100 %) with one of the six emotion labels ("happy", "sad", "fear", "angry", "disgust", and "surprise"). While using a conventional method of analysis we were able to replicate some significant correlations between each anxiety type and recognition performance found in the literature. However, when we used partial correlation to isolate the effect of each anxiety type, most of these correlations were no longer significant, apart from the negative correlations between Beck Anxiety Inventory and reaction time to fearful faces displayed at 40 % intensity level, and the correlations between anxiety and categorisation errors. Specifically, social anxiety was positively correlated with misidentifying a happy face as a disgust face at 40 % intensity level, and state anxiety negatively correlated with misidentifying a happy face as a sad face at 20 % intensity level. However, these partial correlation analyses became non-significant after p value adjustment for multiple comparisons. Our eye tracking data also showed that state anxiety may be associated with reduced fixations on the eye regions of low-intensity sad or fearful faces. These analyses cast doubts on some effects reported in the previous studies because they are likely to reflect a mixture of influences from highly correlated anxiety subtypes.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Emotional faces; Expression recognition; Social anxiety; State anxiety; Trait anxiety
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:39235
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:07 Dec 2023 16:46
Last Modified:07 Dec 2023 16:46


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