Research Project "Emotional contagion in autism and social anxiety disorder”: Humans’ capacity to express, recognize and share emotions enables them to navigate their social worlds and forms a core component of what it means to be socially competent and healthy. Emotion processing deficits have been reported in different disorders and are reflected in disturbed emotion regulation, attentional biases, gaze avoidance, disrupted mimicry and emotion recognition deficits. The current project focuses specifically on the putative linkage between the mimicry of expressions and their recognition. Apart from the typically used posed, full-blown facial expressions, a much larger range of expressions are being investigated including autonomic cues (e.g. pupil dilation and blushing) and bodily expressions of emotion. These expressions are more genuine and hard to enact or fake. The question of how patients with SAD and ASD mimic and perceive emotional cues, visible in the face or from body language, has not been investigated yet. Due to the high prevalence of such cues in daily life interactions, it is of crucial importance to investigate whether their known deficits in perceiving prototypical, explicit facial expressions of emotion translate to the more subtle emotional cues that are beyond the control of the expressor. Also, the current project will combine well-controlled computerized tasks with dyadic interaction studies.
This project is supported by an NWO VIDI grant to Mariska Kret. The project will run in parallel with ongoing projects in the CoPAN lab, directed by Dr. Mariska Kret . The research group participates in the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC ), an interfaculty center for interdisciplinary research on brain and cognition.
- Work directly with patients in the lab (and potentially, lab on wheels);
- Communicate with clinics/ therapists, patient recruitment;
- Report results at conferences and in at least four international peer-reviewed journals;
- Supervise BSc and MSc thesis projects;
- Participate in the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC).
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