FACIAL AFFECT RECOGNITION AND MENTAL HEALTH

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Abstract

The social isolation experienced by some service users is made worse by their inability to read the emotions of others. Steve Smith and Alec Grant describe how photography can help them

Not being able to accurately detect and respond to the emotions conveyed in the facial expressions of others is a significant issue for many people with mental health problems. Facial affect recognition is crucial to successful social interaction and has an evolutionary and neural basis.

Being unable to read the faces of others accurately contributes to social isolation and a vicious cycle of social impairment, and can be compounded by the effects of medication. This article draws on empirically validated work and suggests initiatives, including the use of photography, which mental health practitioners could use in helping people with facial affect recognition difficulties.

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