Recognition accuracy and response bias to happy and sad facial expressions in patients with major depression

Neuropsychology. 2004 Apr;18(2):212-8. doi: 10.1037/0894-4105.18.2.212.


Impaired facial expression recognition has been associated with features of major depression, which could underlie some of the difficulties in social interactions in these patients. Patients with major depressive disorder and age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers judged the emotion of 100 facial stimuli displaying different intensities of sadness and happiness and neutral expressions presented for short (100 ms) and long (2,000 ms) durations. Compared with healthy volunteers, depressed patients demonstrated subtle impairments in discrimination accuracy and a predominant bias away from the identification as happy of mildly happy expressions. The authors suggest that, in depressed patients, the inability to accurately identify subtle changes in facial expression displayed by others in social situations may underlie the impaired interpersonal functioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Emotions*
  • Facial Expression*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Recognition, Psychology*
  • Reference Values
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Statistics as Topic