BPD and Impaired Recognition of Facial Emotions

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March 27, 2011

Borderline Personality Disorder and Impaired Recognition of Facial Emotions.

Persons with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) suffer from emotional dysregulation.  Recent research suggests that persons with BPD have impaired recognition of the emotional states of persons around them.  In other words, persons with BPD have impairment in “reading” the emotional states of other people from facial expressions.  They demonstrate an “anger bias” meaning they are more likely to pick up on negative emotions and overreact to them, demonstrating hypersensitivity to adverse emotional cues presented to them.  Evidence is accumulating that there are structural and functional changes in the emotional regulation centers of the brain that influence these reactions. This emotional hyperreactivity interferes with recognition and processing of facial expressions in other persons.  This impaired feedback loop negatively affects the way persons with BPD interact with and relate to the people around them. Furthermore, persons with BPD have deficits in higher order integration of social information, which may be related to some of the more serious symptoms of the disorder.

J Pers Disord. 2009 Feb;23(1):6-19.

Psychiatry Res. 2011 Mar 21. [Epub ahead of print]

Misreading the facial signs: Specific impairments and error patterns in recognition of facial emotions with negative valence in borderline personality disorder.

Compr Psychiatry. 2006 Nov-Dec;47(6):468-74. Epub 2006 May 3.

Social-emotion recognition in borderline personality disorder.

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