Volume 8, Issue 1 p. 75-93
Original Article

Assessment of perception of morphed facial expressions using the Emotion Recognition Task: Normative data from healthy participants aged 8–75

Roy P.C. Kessels

Corresponding Author

Roy P.C. Kessels

Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Department of Medical Psychology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, The Netherlands

Vincent van Gogh Institute for Psychiatry, Korsakoff clinic, Venray, The Netherlands

Correspondence should be addressed to Roy Kessels, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, Montessorilaan 3, Nijmegen 6525 HR, The Netherlands (e-mail: [email protected]).Search for more papers by this author
Barbara Montagne

Barbara Montagne

Treatment Center for Personality Disorders, GGZ Centraal, Center for Mental Health Care, Disorders, Amersfoort, The Netherlands

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Angelique W. Hendriks

Angelique W. Hendriks

Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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David I. Perrett

David I. Perrett

School of Psychology, University of St. Andrews, UK

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Edward H.F. de Haan

Edward H.F. de Haan

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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First published: 14 February 2013
Citations: 109
The Emotion Recognition Task that includes the norms described in this paper is distributed as part of the computerized DiagnoseIS neuropsychological assessment system (www.diagnoseis.com) free of charge, available in English, Dutch, German, and French. The authors of this article are in no way affiliated with the publisher of this computerized assessment system.

Abstract

The ability to recognize and label emotional facial expressions is an important aspect of social cognition. However, existing paradigms to examine this ability present only static facial expressions, suffer from ceiling effects or have limited or no norms. A computerized test, the Emotion Recognition Task (ERT), was developed to overcome these difficulties. In this study, we examined the effects of age, sex, and intellectual ability on emotion perception using the ERT. In this test, emotional facial expressions are presented as morphs gradually expressing one of the six basic emotions from neutral to four levels of intensity (40%, 60%, 80%, and 100%). The task was administered in 373 healthy participants aged 8–75. In children aged 8–17, only small developmental effects were found for the emotions anger and happiness, in contrast to adults who showed age-related decline on anger, fear, happiness, and sadness. Sex differences were present predominantly in the adult participants. IQ only minimally affected the perception of disgust in the children, while years of education were correlated with all emotions but surprise and disgust in the adult participants. A regression-based approach was adopted to present age- and education- or IQ-adjusted normative data for use in clinical practice. Previous studies using the ERT have demonstrated selective impairments on specific emotions in a variety of psychiatric, neurologic, or neurodegenerative patient groups, making the ERT a valuable addition to existing paradigms for the assessment of emotion perception.