Introduction: Patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) have a cognitive preference to negatively evaluate emotional information. In particular, the preferential biases in prosodic emotion recognition in SAD have been much less explored. The present study aims to investigate whether SAD patients retain negative evaluation biases across visual and auditory modalities when given sufficient response time to recognise emotions. Methods: Thirty-one SAD patients and 31 age- and gender-matched healthy participants completed a culturally suitable non-verbal emotion recognition task and received clinical assessments for social anxiety and depressive symptoms. A repeated measures analysis of variance was conducted to examine group differences in emotion recognition. Results: Compared to healthy participants, SAD patients were significantly less accurate at recognising facial and prosodic emotions, and spent more time on emotion recognition. The differences were mainly driven by the lower accuracy and longer reaction times for recognising fearful emotions in SAD patients. Within the SAD patients, lower accuracy of sad face recognition was associated with higher severity of depressive and social anxiety symptoms, particularly with avoidance symptoms. Conclusion: These findings may represent a cross-modality pattern of avoidance in the later stage of identifying negative emotions in SAD. This pattern may be linked to clinical symptom severity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Psychiatry and Mental health