Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Facial Affect Recognition's Role in Aggression Explored

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Facial Affect Recognition's Role in Aggression Explored

Article excerpt


Deficits in facial affect recognition - the ability to identify and discriminate emotion in the faces of others-might significantly contribute to aggressive behavior in psychotic illness, according to a literature review on the topic.

Researchers led by Aisling Malone used the General Aggression Model (GAM), to explore the theory that facial affect recognition (FAR) deficits may contribute to increased aggression in psychosis. The GAM "suggests that an aggressive response is determined by specific features of the person and the situation interacting with cognitions, affect and arousal to produce a particular outcome," Ms. Malone of the School of Psychology and Psychiatry at Monash University, Clayton, Australia, and her colleagues wrote in the journal. "In other words, it is not only what an individual brings to the situation, but how they process social information that decides the likelihood of an aggressive response."

GAM was applied in the review because many published studies examining the relationship between FAR deficits in individuals with psychosis "have been inconclusive and hampered by small sample sizes and other methodological problems," the researchers explained (Aggress. Violent Behav. 2012;17:27-35). "They failed to consistently measure history of violence or to control for relevant confounding variables such as psychopathy, childhood trauma, and substance abuse."

When these three potential confounding variables are taken into account, they continued, it spotlights so-cioemotional processing deficits such as impaired FAR as "a fruitful area for research aimed at understanding, and hence reducing the risk of violence in psychosis."

According to the review, any relationship between FAR deficits and aggression in psychosis might be attributable to a subgroup with comorbid psychopathy. …

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