Deficits in facial expression recognition in male adolescents with early-onset or adolescent-onset conduct disorder

Developmental Psychiatry Section, Department of Psychiatry, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.46). 06/2009; 50(5):627-36. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.02020.x
Source: PubMed


We examined whether conduct disorder (CD) is associated with deficits in facial expression recognition and, if so, whether these deficits are specific to the early-onset form of CD, which emerges in childhood. The findings could potentially inform the developmental taxonomic theory of antisocial behaviour, which suggests that early-onset and adolescence-limited forms of CD are subject to different aetiological processes.
Male adolescents with either early-onset CD (n = 42) or adolescence-onset CD (n = 39), and controls with no history of serious antisocial behaviour and no current psychiatric disorder (n = 40) completed tests of facial expression and facial identity recognition. Dependent measures were: (a) correct recognition of facial expressions of anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise, and (b) the number of correct matches of unfamiliar faces.
Relative to controls, recognition of anger, disgust, and happiness in facial expressions was disproportionately impaired in participants with early-onset CD, whereas recognition of fear was impaired in participants with adolescence-onset CD. Participants with CD who were high in psychopathic traits showed impaired fear, sadness, and surprise recognition relative to those low in psychopathic traits. There were no group differences in facial identity recognition.
Both CD subtypes were associated with impairments in facial recognition, although these were more marked in the early-onset subgroup. Variation in psychopathic traits appeared to exert an additional influence on the recognition of fear, sadness and surprise. Implications of these data for the developmental taxonomic theory of antisocial behaviour are discussed.

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Available from: Ian M Goodyer, Oct 04, 2015
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    • "Children with CP and high levels of CU traits (CP/HCU) are more genetically vulnerable to develop CP, have more CP, show more severe levels of aggression, and have a poorer prognosis than children with CP who have low levels of CU traits (CP/LCU) (Viding et al., 2005; Frick and Viding, 2009). The current evidence base indicates that CP/HCU display impaired recognition of fearful (and in some cases sad) faces, vocal tones, and body poses, as well as reduced psychophysiological reactivity to distressing and threatening images (Blair, 1999; Blair et al., 2001, 2005; Dadds et al., 2006; Fairchild et al., 2009; Munoz, 2009). In contrast, some studies have reported that children with CP/LCU incorrectly categorize neutral faces as being angry and make hostile attribution biases in vignette-based neutral stories (e.g., Cadesky et al., 2000; Frick et al., 2003; Dadds et al., 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Appropriate reactivity to emotional facial expressions, even if these are seen whilst we are engaged in another activity, is critical for successful social interaction. Children with conduct problems (CP) and high levels of callous-unemotional (CU) traits are characterized by blunted reactivity to other people's emotions, while children with CP and low levels of CU traits can over-react to perceived emotional threat. No study to date has compared children with CP and high vs. low levels of CU traits to typically developing (TD) children or each other, using a task that assesses attentional capture by irrelevant emotional faces. Method: All participants performed an attentional capture task in which they were asked to judge the orientation of a single male face that was displayed simultaneously with two female faces. Three types of trials were presented, trials with all neutral faces, trials with an emotional distractor face and trials with an emotional target face. Fifteen boys with CP and high levels of CU traits, 17 boys with CP and low levels of CU traits and 17 age and ability matched TD boys were included in the final study sample. Results: Compared to TD children and children with low levels of CU traits, children with CP and high levels of CU traits showed reduced attentional capture by irrelevant emotional faces. Conclusions: This study is the first to demonstrate a different pattern in emotional attentional capture in children with CP depending on their level of CU traits.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 08/2014; 8:570. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00570 · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    • "Also, the FEEST procedure was originally developed for adults [34]. However, according to literature data, FEEST-like procedures could be reliably applied in studies of adolescents [37, 44]. "
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    ABSTRACT: . Social and emotional deficits were recently considered as inherent features of individuals with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but only sporadic literature data exist on emotion recognition in adolescents with ADHD. The aim of the present study was to establish emotion recognition profile in adolescent boys with ADHD in comparison with control adolescents. Methods . Forty-four adolescent boys (13–16 years) participated in the study after informed consent; 22 boys had a clinical diagnosis of ADHD, while data were also assessed from 22 adolescent control boys matched for age and Raven IQ. Parent- and self-reported behavioral characteristics were assessed by the means of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. The recognition of six basic emotions was evaluated by the “Facial Expressions of Emotion-Stimuli and Tests.” Results . Compared to controls, adolescents with ADHD were more sensitive in the recognition of disgust and, worse in the recognition of fear and showed a tendency for impaired recognition of sadness. Hyperactivity measures showed an inverse correlation with fear recognition. Conclusion . Our data suggest that adolescent boys with ADHD have alterations in the recognition of specific emotions.
    BioMed Research International 07/2014; 2014(4):761340. DOI:10.1155/2014/761340 · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    • "To classify respondents into high or low psychopathy groups, a mean YPI score is calculated . According to guidelines (Skeem and Cauffman 2003), a person scoring above the 2.5 threshold is classified as high in psychopathic traits (YO YPI+ ) , whereas someone who scores below is classified as low in psychopathic traits (YO YPI-; see also Fairchild et al. 2009). The YPI consists of 3 subscales designed to capture the core traits of psychopathy. "
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    ABSTRACT: Antisocial individuals have problems recognizing negative emotions (e.g. Marsh & Blair in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 32:454–465, 2009); however, due to issues with sampling and different methods used, previous findings have been varied. Sixty-three male young offenders and 37 age-, IQ- and socio-economic status-matched male controls completed a facial emotion recognition task, which measures recognition of happiness, sadness, fear, anger, disgust, and surprise and neutral expressions across 4 emotional intensities. Conduct disorder (YSR), and psychopathic and callous/unemotional traits (YPI) were measured, and offenders’ offense data were taken from the Youth Offending Service’s case files. Relative to controls, offenders were significantly worse at identifying sadness, low intensity disgust and high intensity fear. A significant interaction for anger was also observed, with offenders showing reduced low- but increased high-intensity anger recognition in comparison with controls. Within the young offenders levels of conduct disorder and psychopathic traits explained variation in sadness and disgust recognition, whereas offense severity explained variation in anger recognition. These results suggest that antisocial youths show specific problems in recognizing negative emotions and support the use of targeted emotion recognition interventions for problematic behavior.
    Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 03/2014; 36(1). DOI:10.1007/s10862-013-9368-z · 1.55 Impact Factor
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