Facial recognition of happiness among older adults with active and remitted major depression

Paulo R. Shiroma, Paul Thuras, Brian Johns, Kelvin O Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Biased emotion processing in depression might be a trait characteristic independent of mood improvement and a vulnerable factor to develop further depressive episodes. This phenomenon of among older adults with depression has not been adequately examined. In a 2-year cross-sectional study, 59 older patients with either active or remitted major depression, or never-depressed, completed a facial emotion recognition task (FERT) to probe perceptual bias of happiness. The results showed that depressed patients, compared with never depressed subjects, had a significant lower sensitivity to identify happiness particularly at moderate intensity of facial stimuli. Patients in remission from a previous major depressive episode but with none or minimal symptoms had similar sensitivity rate to identify happy facial expressions as compared to patients with an active depressive episode. Further studies would be necessary to confirm whether recognition of happy expression reflects a persistent perceptual bias of major depression in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-291
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Sep 30 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Preparation of the manuscript was supported by the Center for Epidemiological and Clinical Research (CECR) Career Development Grant awarded to Dr. Shiroma at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016


  • Depression
  • Emotion
  • Geriatric
  • Psychiatry


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