The association between PTSD and facial affect recognition

Christian L. Williams, Melissa E. Milanak, Matt R. Judah, Howard Berenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The major aims of this study were to examine how, if at all, having higher levels of PTSD would be associated with performance on a facial affect recognition task in which facial expressions of emotion are superimposed on emotionally valenced, non-face images. College students with trauma histories (N = 90) completed a facial affect recognition task as well as measures of exposure to traumatic events, and PTSD symptoms. When the face and context matched, participants with higher levels of PTSD were significantly more accurate. When the face and context were mismatched, participants with lower levels of PTSD were more accurate than were those with higher levels of PTSD. These findings suggest that PTSD is associated with how people process affective information. Furthermore, these results suggest that the enhanced attention of people with higher levels of PTSD to affective information can be either beneficial or detrimental to their ability to accurately identify facial expressions of emotion. Limitations, future directions and clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-302
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume265
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2018

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
Facial Expression
Emotions
Aptitude
Students
Wounds and Injuries

Keywords

  • Affect recognition
  • Emotion
  • PTSD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

The association between PTSD and facial affect recognition. / Williams, Christian L.; Milanak, Melissa E.; Judah, Matt R.; Berenbaum, Howard.

In: Psychiatry Research, Vol. 265, 07.2018, p. 298-302.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Williams, Christian L. ; Milanak, Melissa E. ; Judah, Matt R. ; Berenbaum, Howard. / The association between PTSD and facial affect recognition. In: Psychiatry Research. 2018 ; Vol. 265. pp. 298-302.
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