The relationship between the recognition of facial expressions and self-reported anger in people with intellectual disabilities

Kate A. Woodcock, John Rose*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background This study aims to examine the relationship between how individuals with intellectual disabilities report their own levels of anger, and the ability of those individuals to recognize emotions. It was hypothesized that increased expression of anger would be linked to lower ability to recognize facial emotional expressions and increased tendency to interpret facial expressions in a hostile or negative manner. It was also hypothesized increased levels of anger may lead to the altered perception of a particular emotion.

Method A cross-sectional survey design was used. Thirty participants completed a test of facial emotion recognition (FER), and a self-report anger inventory (Benson & Ivins 1992) as part of a structured interview.

Results Individuals with higher self-reported anger did not show significantly reduced performance in FER, or interpret facial expressions in a more hostile manner compared with individuals with less self-reported anger. However, they were less accurate in recognizing neutral facial emotions.

Conclusions It is tentatively suggested that individuals with high levels of anger may be likely to perceive emotional content in a neutral facial expression because of their high levels of emotional arousal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-284
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


  • anger
  • emotion perception
  • learning disability

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