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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    • "Also, in our recent study, youths with CD showed altered hemodynamic activity in the amygdala, cuneus, lingual gyrus, insula and thalamus in the resting state (Zhou et al. 2015). On the other hand, youths with CD have also been found to show impairments in emotion recognition and related processes, such as empathy, emotion recognition, and emotion control (Woodworth and Waschbusch 2008; Fairchild et al. 2009; Schwenck et al. 2012), which may result from the dysfunction of diverse neural circuits (Blair 2013). Therefore, investigating the activity and functional connectivity of the DMN may shed light on the neurobiological processes underlying these affective and social impairments. "
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    Brain Imaging and Behavior 10/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11682-015-9465-6 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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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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    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 08/2014; 8:570. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00570 · 3.63 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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