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Title: Investigating emotion recognition and evaluating the emotion recognition training task, a novel technique to alter emotion perception in depression.
Author: Dalili, Michael Nader
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 9050
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2016
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Rationale. Accurately recognising facial expressions of emotion is important in social interactions and for maintaining interpersonal relationships. While comparing evidence across studies is difficult, research suggests that depressed individuals show deficits in emotion recognition (ER). A possible explanation for these deficits is the biased perception of these expressions. Research suggests that the emotion recognition training task, a novel cognitive bias modification (CBM) technique, shows promise in improving affect in individuals with low mood. However, further work is necessary to evaluate its training effects. Finally, research in healthy individuals has been limited, with larger studies needed to determine the effects of participant and study characteristics and negative symptoms on ER performance. Methods. Using experimental methodologies such as meta-analysis and online recruitment and testing, the research conducted here reviews and contributes to ER research in healthy and depressed populations. This work also uses CBM paradigms, brain imaging, and randomised controlled trial design to evaluate the emotion recognition training task. Results. This research identifies a general ER deficit in depression, and across emotions except sadness. It also finds effects of presentation time and anxiety, but not sociodemographic characteristics or depression, on performance in healthy individuals. This work also indicates generalisation of emotion recognition training effects across identities, but only partial generalisation across emotions. Finally, it finds increased neural activity for happy faces following training in individuals with low mood. Conclusions. Overall, this thesis has contributed new evidence to understanding ER and factors influencing performance in healthy and depressed individuals. The work presented in this thesis has found partial generalisation of emotion recognition training effects and an increase in neural activation for happy faces following a course of training, resembling antidepressant treatment effects. These findings suggest emotion recognition training is a promising novel CBM technique that should continue being evaluated for use in treatment in conjunction with traditional methods such as cognitive behavioural therapy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available