Deficits in facial affect recognition among antisocial populations: A meta-analysis

National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews (Impact Factor: 10.28). 02/2008; 32(3):454-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2007.08.003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Individuals with disorders marked by antisocial behavior frequently show deficits in recognizing displays of facial affect. Antisociality may be associated with specific deficits in identifying fearful expressions, which would implicate dysfunction in neural structures that subserve fearful expression processing. A meta-analysis of 20 studies was conducted to assess: (a) if antisocial populations show any consistent deficits in recognizing six emotional expressions; (b) beyond any generalized impairment, whether specific fear recognition deficits are apparent; and (c) if deficits in fear recognition are a function of task difficulty. Results show a robust link between antisocial behavior and specific deficits in recognizing fearful expressions. This impairment cannot be attributed solely to task difficulty. These results suggest dysfunction among antisocial individuals in specified neural substrates, namely the amygdala, involved in processing fearful facial affect.

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Available from: Abigail A Marsh, Aug 28, 2015
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    • "When facial emotion recognition ability is impaired, the individual may not benefit from receiving the potent and social behaviour-regulating reinforcers provided by the facial expressions of other people (Blair, 1995). In turn, the inability to receive guidance from this important social information may result in interpersonal functioning difficulties due to a reduced capacity to monitor the effect of one's behaviour on others and by a failure to modulate behaviour appropriately and in an interpersonally sensitive manner (Beer et al., 2003; Marsh & Blair, 2008). Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that facial expressions exhibited by others help generate negative self-conscious emotions (e.g., embarrassment, shame, and guilt) in individuals by helping them become aware that their behaviour is harmful or inappropriate and thus, transgressive (see Beer et al., 2003). "
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