Recognition of complex mental states in patients with alcoholism after long-term abstinence

Adrienne Mátyássy, Oguz Kelemen, Zsuzsa Sáközi, Zoltán Janka, Szabolcs Kéri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims: Previous studies demonstrated that patients with alcoholism display impaired emotional facial expression recognition even after long-term abstinence. These studies focused on basic emotions (happiness, anger, sadness, and disgust). In this study, we investigated the recognition of complex social emotions and mental states in patients with alcoholism after long-term abstinence and healthy control subjects. Methods: Thirty patients with DSM-IV alcohol dependence and 30 age-matched, gender-matched, education-matched, and IQ-matched healthy control subjects participated. The patients were abstinent for >6 months. For the assessment of the recognition of complex social emotions and mental states, the Baron-Cohen Eyes Test was used. The experimenter presented 29 photographs of the eye-region of faces of actors and actresses on separate cards. Participants were asked to choose which of the four words (one target and three foils) best described the mental state of the actor/actress (for example, interested, doubtful, flirtatious, and insisting). The primary dependent measure was the number of correctly recognized stimuli. Results: Patients with alcoholism correctly identified 22.4 (SD = 3.4) stimuli, whereas control participants identified 22.5 (SD = 2.9) stimuli. The difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.85). There was no significant difference in the proportion of patients and controls who correctly recognized each mental state. Conclusions: These results are against the hypotheses suggesting long-term adverse effects of alcohol on social cognition or supposing an inherent vulnerability of patients that may manifest before the development of alcohol dependence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-514
Number of pages3
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Volume41
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 15 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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