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Percept Mot Skills. 2007 Apr;104(2):589-98.

The Emotion Recognition Task: a paradigm to measure the perception of facial emotional expressions at different intensities.

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Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre.


The Emotion Recognition Task is a computer-generated paradigm for measuring the recognition of six basic facial emotional expressions: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. Video clips of increasing length were presented, starting with a neutral face that changes into a facial expression of different intensities (20%-100%). The present study describes methodological aspects of the paradigm and its applicability in healthy participants (N=58; 34 men; ages between 22 and 75), specifically focusing on differences in recognition performance between the six emotion types and age-related change. The results showed that happiness was the easiest emotion to recognize, while fear was the most difficult. Moreover, older adults performed worse than young adults on anger, sadness, fear, and happiness, but not on disgust and surprise. These findings indicate that this paradigm is probably more sensitive than emotion perception tasks using static images, suggesting it is a useful tool in the assessment of subtle impairments in emotion perception.

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