Date of Completion

2017

Document Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Psychological Science

Type of Thesis

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Althoff

Second Advisor

Dr. Annie Murray-Close

Keywords

internalizing, externalizing, emotion recognition, eye movement, children

Abstract

Understanding eye movements, gaze patterns, and the ability to accurately identify emotional expressions may provide insight into the mechanisms underlying the social impairments associated with various forms of developmental psychopathology. In this study, 272 children between the ages of 7 and 17 were asked to identify the emotion of faces displaying different emotional expressions at varying levels of saturation. Eye movements were monitored using an infrared eye-tracking camera and the time spent looking on the face (dwell time) and the overall number of fixations were calculated. Parent reports of children’s mood and behavior were obtained using the Child Behavior Checklist. A series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed a positive relationship of attention problems on stimulus dwell time and a negative relationship of social problems on emotion identification accuracy (EIA). Furthermore, age and IQ had a positive association with EIA, while socioeconomic status was negatively associated with dwell time. There were also sex differences such that boys tended to have longer dwell times and fewer fixations than girls. These findings demonstrate that children’s emotional-behavioral symptoms and demographic characteristics may be associated with differential processing of facial emotion information, which may have important implications for social functioning.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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