Essay about Effects Of Depression On The Perception Of Emotion

Essay about Effects Of Depression On The Perception Of Emotion

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The ability to perceive emotion in facial expressions is essential in social functioning for communication and the avoidance of misunderstandings. Unfortunately, evidence suggests this ability is frequently impaired by depression. Depression is a debilitating mental illness characterized by sadness and loss of interest, affecting both the mind and body to the extent the ability to function is deteriorated. According to the American Psychiatric Association, many subtypes of depression exist, including: major depressive disorder (in varying levels of severity), bipolar depression, psychotic depression, persistent depressive disorder, and many situation specific types of depression. The prevalence rate of depression is 7% in the United States, more common in young adults and women than in the elderly and men (2013). While the effects of depression subtypes on emotion perception have yet to be explored, the following studies have investigated the effects of depression on the perception of emotion in facial expressions. The results of these studies can be used to learn more about depression, improve treatment of depression, and potentially form better methods of early detection of the mental illness.
To examine any difference in the recognition of, and any bias toward, facial expressions Surguladze et al. (2004), studied 27 medicated patients with depression and 29 healthy volunteers. Participants viewed 10 faces on a computer, each expressing happiness, sadness, and neutrality at both half and full levels of intensity of expression. The images were displayed for a short and a long duration. The participants labeled each stimulus with a computer joystick as one of the three options of emotion. Happy expressions, full intensity level, ...


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...short, nonsensical sentences read by the same professionals using six different tones corresponding with the same six emotions. The participants selected from a set of cards the one basic emotion they perceived for each stimuli. Videotaped fear was recognized less accurately than the other five emotions in both groups. Audiotaped surprise was recognized more by the control group than the depressed group. Both groups confused fear for sadness or surprise. The depressed group usually perceived surprise as fear. The researchers suggest those with depression could recognize emotion normally with enough information to go on (this stimuli was more dynamic than the usual photographs). Also, they are prone to perceiving neutral stimuli more negatively- a trait of depression. They conclude with the postulation this could be a judgment problem rather than a perception problem.

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