Sensitivity in detecting facial displays of emotion: Impact of maternal depression and oxytocin receptor genotype.
The current study examined sensitivity in detecting emotional faces among children of depressed and non-depressed mothers. A second goal was to examine the potential moderating role of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR rs53576), which has been linked to emotion recognition in the past. Participants included 247 children (ages 8–14). Children completed a forced choice emotion identification task. Maternal history of major depressive disorder during children’s lives was associated with children’s sensitivity in detecting emotional faces among children homozygous for the OXTR rs53576 G allele, but not among carriers of the A allele. Among G homozygotes, children of depressed mothers exhibited increased sensitivity in detecting sad faces, and reduced sensitivity in detecting happiness, compared to children of non-depressed mothers.
Burkhouse, K.L., Woody, M.L., Owens, M., McGeary, J.E., Knopik, V.S. & Gibb, B.E.(2016). Sensitivity in detecting facial displays of emotion: Impact of maternal depression and oxytocin receptor genotype. Cognition and Emotion, 30, 275-287. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2014.996531
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