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Thomas Library

Honors Thesis Archive

Author Rachel Merchak
Title Recognition of Facial Expressions of Emotion: The Effects of Anxiety, Depression, and Fear of Negative Evaluation
Department Psychology
Advisors Stephanie Little, Michael Anes, and Jeff Ankrom
Year 2013
Honors University Honors
Full Text View Thesis (282 KB)
Abstract Anxiety is a debilitating disorder that can cause those suffering from it social dysfunction. This research focuses on how anxiety is associated with recognition of emotion on faces, as that may be a contributing factor to the social woes of those suffering from anxiety, both general and social. However, depression and fear of negative evaluation may also be associated with difficulty in recognizing emotions. In this study, 48 college students were presented with 60 facial expressions of emotion for either 500ms or 2s and asked to identify the emotion that was portrayed by choosing from a list of 6 possible choices: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, neutral, and sadness. Participants then completed measures of depressive and anxious (general and social) symptoms and fear of negative evaluation. Partial correlations were used to analyze the data. It was found that when depression and sex were controlled for, higher fear of negative evaluation and high social anxiety scores were correlated with better accuracy in identifying happy facial expressions. Additionally, higher general anxiety scores were marginally correlated with lower accuracy in identifying facial expressions of disgust. The correlations between general and social anxiety and recognition of expressions of disgust and happiness approached marginal significance or were marginally significant, respectively, when depression, fear of negative evaluation, and sex were controlled

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