Recognition of emotional facial expressions in benzodiazepine dependence and detoxification

Natasza Żurowska , Agnieszka Kałwa , Krystyna Rymarczyk , Bogusław Habrat


Introduction: The study investigates how benzodiazepine (BZD) use and detoxification affects empathy and the recognition and intensity rating of emotional facial expressions. The sample comprised 43 participants in three groups: (1) during detoxification (N = 13), (2) after detoxification (N = 15), (3) a matched control group (N = 15). Clinical subjects were recruited from in-patients of an addiction treatment unit.Methods: Empathy levels were tested with the Empathy Quotient (EQ-Short). Recognition accuracy and emotion intensity rating were based on a computerised task displaying static and dynamic facial expressions of joy, anger, sadness, and fear.Results: The controls proved more accurate than both experimental groups in identifying facial expressions of negative emotions. Joy recognition proved most accurate overall. Among the clinical subjects, women in particular exhibited an impaired ability to correctly identify negative emotions from facial expressions. Dynamic stimuli were better recognised than static ones albeit only in the experimental groups. No significant differences were found for emotion intensity ratings and EQ scores.Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the impaired facial emotion recognition accuracy is not caused by deficits in empathy. No improvement was recorded post-detoxification which may indicate impaired interpersonal functioning among BZD users. Further research is warranted in light of this study’s limitations.
Author Natasza Żurowska
Natasza Żurowska,,
, Agnieszka Kałwa
Agnieszka Kałwa,,
, Krystyna Rymarczyk (Wydział Psychologii)
Krystyna Rymarczyk,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Bogusław Habrat
Bogusław Habrat,,
Journal seriesCognitive Neuropsychiatry, ISSN 1354-6805, (A 25 pkt)
Issue year2018
Publication size in sheets0.65
ASJC Classification2738 Psychiatry and Mental health; 2805 Cognitive Neuroscience
Languageen angielski
Benzodiazepine dependence_emotion. K. Rymarczyk 2018.pdf 1.24 MB
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2018-02-16-10-35-14-530.pdf 646.22 KB
Score (nominal)25
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2017 = 0.608; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 1.329 (2) - 2017=1.754 (5)
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