Date of Degree

10-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor(s)

Joan C. Borod

Subject Categories

Psychology | Quantitative Psychology

Abstract

Perceiving the emotions of others is an important, even critical, skill for success in social interactions. The lack of this skill has been associated with decreased social competence and poor interpersonal relationships (Shimokawa et al., 2001). It frequently co-occurs with psychopathology.

Furthermore, there is a large and rapidly growing literature examining the neural substrates of emotional processing. Studies have examined the processing of particular emotions, as well as how emotions conveyed through different modalities are processed.

The New York Emotion Battery (NYEB; Borod, Welkowitz, & Obler, 1992) includes tests for the perception of eight discrete emotions across three communication channels: facial, prosodic, and lexical. The NYEB has been used to study psychiatric and neurological conditions, as well as normal aging.

For the current study, data were collected from 122 healthy, right-handed adults, ages 20-89. Participants completed emotion perception and nonemotional control tasks from the NYEB. Perceptual tasks included both identification and discrimination of emotion. All participants completed a screening battery which included measures of cognitive, perceptual, and affective functioning.

The aims of the current study were:

1) To establish the internal consistency reliability and construct validity of the NYEB.

2) To examine the structure of its observed and latent variables and compare those structures to theory.

3) To describe any demographic or response biases of the NYEB.

Results indicated that the NYEB has very good internal consistency for identification tasks, but lower internal consistency for discrimination tasks. Performance on the NYEB (both overall and in its identification subtests) is strongly determined by a general factor of emotion perception ability. Individual identification subtests often display a moderately strong second factor, but are still good measures of general emotional perception ability. Analysis of hierarchical grouping of the battery's emotions provides support for the approach/withdrawal classification of emotions (as it relates to perceived emotions). Individual emotions varied in how accurately they were perceived and how frequently they were named in responses.

Overall, the NYEB has good psychometric properties, should be a valid and useful instrument for assessing emotion perception deficits in psychopathology, and has potential to be adapted into an abbreviated form.

 
 

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