IMPAIRMENT IN FACIAL AFFECT RECOGNITION: DEFICIT OR ANXIETY?
Paulson, Autumn Melody
Beidel, Deborah C.
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Although individuals with social phobia are generally considered to exhibit social skills deficits, the existence of a potential deficit in the area of facial affect recognition remains largely unexplored. The current study investigated if individuals with high social anxiety are less able to accurately determine facial affect as compared with individuals with low social anxiety. Furthermore, this study examined whether or not this impairment is an actual deficit or results from an increased level of anxiety. Fifty-nine subjects completed an affect-labeling task at a baseline level of anxiety and again following a 5 minute speech designed to elicit anxiety. Results indicated that socially anxious and non-socially anxious individuals did not differ in accuracy of facial affect identification either at a baseline level or after engaging in a moderately stressful public performance. Based on these results, facial affect recognition does not appear to represent a skills deficit in socially anxious individuals.