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The role of trait anxiety in the recognition of emotional facial expressions

Cooper, Robbie M.; Rowe, Angela C.; Penton-Voak, Ian S.


Robbie M. Cooper

Angela C. Rowe

Ian S. Penton-Voak


Previous work has suggested that elevated levels of trait anxiety are associated with an increased ability to accurately recognize the facial expression of fear. However, to date, recognition has only been assessed after viewing periods of 10s, despite the fact that the process of emotion recognition from faces typically takes a fraction of this time. The current study required participants with either high or low levels of non-clinical trait anxiety to make speeded emotional classification judgments to a series of facial expressions drawn from seven emotional categories. Following previous work it was predicted that recognition of fearful facial expressions would be more accurate in the high-trait anxious group compared with the low-trait anxious group. However, contrary to this prediction, no anxiety-related differences in emotion perception were observed across all seven emotions. This suggests that anxiety does not influence the perception of fear as has been previously proposed.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 26, 2007
Online Publication Date Dec 3, 2007
Publication Date 2008-10
Deposit Date Jan 16, 2012
Print ISSN 0887-6185
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 7
Pages 1120-1127
Keywords Anxiety; Emotion; Facial expressions; Recognition; Perception
Public URL