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Behav Med. 2013;39(4):146-54. doi: 10.1080/08964289.2013.818932.

Recognition of facially expressed emotions in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome.

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a University of Ulm.


The study investigated the ability to identify facially expressed emotions in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and its association with clinical parameters. Thirty-five FMS patients and 35 healthy controls accomplished a face recognition task. Additionally, pain severity, alexithymia, depression, anxiety, psychiatric co-morbidity and medication use were assessed. The patients displayed reduced task performance in terms of more misclassifications of emotional expressions than controls. Pain severity, alexithymia, depression and anxiety were inversely related to recognition performance, with pain severity accounting for the largest portion of test score variance. Psychiatric co-morbidity and medication had no impact on performance. The study documented impaired emotion recognition in FMS, which may contribute to the interpersonal difficulties and reduced social functioning related to this condition. As potential mechanisms mediating the occurrence of the deficits, altered affective processing due to interoceptive impairment as well as interference of central nervous nociceptive activity with cognitive and emotional processing are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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