Recognition of facial expressions in individuals with elevated levels of depressive symptoms: An eye-movement study

Lingdan Wu, Jie Pu, John JB Allen, Paul Pauli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Previous studies consistently reported abnormal recognition of facial expressions in depression. However, it is still not clear whether this abnormality is due to an enhanced or impaired ability to recognize facial expressions, and what underlying cognitive systems are involved. The present study aimed to examine how individuals with elevated levels of depressive symptoms differ from controls on facial expression recognition and to assess attention and information processing using eye tracking. Forty participants (18 with elevated depressive symptoms) were instructed to label facial expressions depicting one of seven emotions. Results showed that the high-depression group, in comparison with the low-depression group, recognized facial expressions faster and with comparable accuracy. Furthermore, the high-depression group demonstrated greater leftwards attention bias which has been argued to be an indicator of hyperactivation of right hemisphere during facial expression recognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number249030
JournalDepression Research and Treatment
Publication statusPublished - 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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