Category: Child / Adolescent - Anxiety

PS12- #B46 - Emotional Coherence in Adolescent Social Anxiety: Use of Automated Systems for Coding Videotaped Emotional Displays In Social Interactions

Saturday, Nov 18
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Location: Indigo CDGH

Keywords: Adolescent Anxiety | Emotion | Behavior Experiments

Emotional coherence refers to links among an individual’s emotional responses across subjective, behavioral, and physiological systems (Mauss et al., 2015). Low coherence among systems is a robust risk factor for psychopathology. One barrier to studying emotional coherence is the extensive expertise needed to assess and interpret data across systems. Automatic emotion coding programs may facilitate the study of emotional coherence and its links to psychopathology. We tested one program, IntraFace, which consists of free and easy-to-use software for coding facial expressions from videotaped observations using Ekman and colleagues’ (2002) FACS paradigm for identifying specific emotions (i.e., happy, surprised, neutral, disgust, sad; Torre et al., 2015).

We recruited 60, 14-15 year-old adolescents (30 clinic-referred; 30 community control) with groups matched on age and gender. Adolescents participated in counterbalanced social interaction tasks with peer confederates consisting of a structured social interaction task (SSIT; Curran, 1982), unstructured conversation task (UCT; Turner et al., 1994), and impromptu speech task (IST; Beidel et al., 2010). To study emotional coherence, we used IntraFace to process video-tape recordings of these tasks and identify anxiety-relevant emotions (i.e. probability estimates of “surprised”; range: 0-10). After each interaction, adolescents self-reported their arousal using the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM; Bradley & Lang, 1994).

A repeated-measures ANOVA tested differences across tasks (SSIT, UCT, IST) and groups (clinic-referred, community control) in probabilities of displaying the emotion surprised. There was a significant task X group quadratic effect (F=7.26; p < .01). Clinic-referred adolescents showed greater probabilities for displaying surprised during unstructured tasks (UCT: M=3.86) relative to structured tasks (SSIT: M=3.02; IST: M=3.09), whereas community control adolescents showed greater probabilities for displaying surprised during structured tasks (SSIT: M=3.45; IST: M=3.66) relative to unstructured tasks (UCT: M=3.16). In contrast, for adolescents’ SAM ratings, there was a non-significant task X group quadratic effect (p=.09), a significant linear task effect (F=153.395, p < .001), and a significant group effect (F=5.70, p < .05). Although both groups self-reported their highest levels of arousal for the IST, followed by the UCT, and then the SSIT, clinic-referred adolescents self-reported significantly greater levels of arousal across tasks relative to community control adolescents.

IntraFace facilitates studying emotional coherence by yielding data that complement alternative emotion modalities (i.e., self-reported arousal), and significantly distinguish clinic-referred from non-referred adolescents.

Michelle L. Truong

Undergraduate Research Coordinator
University of Maryland at College Park

Erica Rausch

Undergraduate Research Coordinator
University of Maryland at College Park

Lauren Keeley

Full-Time Research Coordinator
University of Maryland at College Park
Adelphi, Maryland

James Riffle

Research Coordinator
University of Maryland at College Park

Sebastian Szollos

Research Coordinator
The University of Maryland
Columbia, Maryland

Bridget A. Makol

Graduate Student
University of Maryland, College Park
Chicago, Illinois

Tara Augenstein

Graduate Student
The University of Maryland

Melanie Lipton

Graduate Student
The University of Maryland

Sarah Racz

Clinical Assistant Professor
University of Maryland at College Park

Andres De Los Reyes

Associate Professor
University of Maryland at College Park
College Park, Maryland