The characteristics of eye movements in patients with anxiety disorders during recognition of emotions in facial expressions 1421
Associated Professor, Chair of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Institute of Chemistry and Biology, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University
Head of the Chair of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Institute of Chemistry and Biology, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University
Most studies of visual attention in recognizing facial expressions of patients with anxiety disorders are aimed at assessing the differences with simultaneous presentation of “threatening” and “non-threatening” incentives. Thisstudyaimedtotestthehypothesisthatthepathologicalanxietyarethespecificcharacteristics of eye movements for recognition separately placed on facial expressions. Study sample consisted of 23 subjects: the control group (n = 14), mean age 26,5 ± 5,4 years, and the experimental group (n = 9) – patients with anxiety disorders, mean age 31 ± 3.64 years. Eye movements were recorded using eyrtracker RED-m (SMI). Subjects were sequentially exposed to 18 pictures from the FACS database: emotions related (anger, fear, disgust) and unrelated (surprise, joy, sadness) to threat. Deficit in the recognition of facial expressions was found in pathological anxiety group. Recognition accuracy of “fear” emotion in the experimental group was significantly higher than in the control group (p <0,01). Eyetracking results suggest that pathological anxiety affects the recognition of facial expressions, so that highly informative lower face less attention than normal, as the eye area and nose are observed longer compared with healthy subjects. We discuss the possible adaptive significance of the identified characteristics of eye movements.
Footnote. The results of this study were presented at the Seventh International Conference on Cognitive Science (Svetlogorsk, June 2016).
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