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Facial emotion perception by intensity in children and adolescents with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome

Abstract : Difficulties in the recognition of emotions in expressive faces have been reported in people with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS). However, while low-intensity expressive faces are frequent in everyday life, nothing is known about their ability to perceive facial emotions depending on the intensity of expression. Through a visual matching task, children and adolescents with 22q11.2DS as well as gender- and age-matched healthy participants were asked to categorise the emotion of a target face among six possible expressions. Static pictures of morphs between neutrality and expressions were used to parametrically manipulate the intensity of the target face. In comparison to healthy controls, results showed higher perception thresholds (i.e. a more intense expression is needed to perceive the emotion) and lower accuracy for the most expressive faces indicating reduced categorisation abilities in the 22q11.2DS group. The number of intrusions (i.e. each time an emotion is perceived as another one) and a more gradual perception performance indicated smooth boundaries between emotional categories. Correlational analyses with neuropsychological and clinical measures suggested that reduced visual skills may be associated with impaired categorisation of facial emotions. Overall, the present study indicates greater difficulties for children and adolescents with 22q11.2DS to perceive an emotion in low-intensity expressive faces. This disability is subtended by emotional categories that are not sharply organised. It also suggests that these difficulties may be associated with impaired visual cognition, a hallmark of the cognitive deficits observed in the syndrome. These data yield promising tracks for future experimental and clinical investigations.
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Submitted on : Monday, November 14, 2016 - 1:41:12 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 12, 2022 - 10:12:07 AM


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Arnaud Leleu, Guillaume Saucourt, Caroline Rigard, Gabrielle Chesnoy, Jean-Yves Baudouin, et al.. Facial emotion perception by intensity in children and adolescents with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Springer Verlag (Germany), 2016, 25 (3), pp.297 - 310. ⟨10.1007/s00787-015-0741-1⟩. ⟨hal-01396381⟩



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