Emotion recognition from facial expressions: A normative study of the Ekman 60-Faces Test in the Italian population

Alessandra Dodich, Chiara Cerami, Nicola Canessa, Chiara Crespi, Alessandra Marcone, Marta Arpone, Sabrina Realmuto, Stefano F. Cappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Ekman 60-Faces (EK-60F) Test is a well-known neuropsychological tool assessing emotion recognition from facial expressions. It is the most employed task for research purposes in psychiatric and neurological disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases, such as the behavioral variant of Frontotemporal Dementia (bvFTD). Despite its remarkable usefulness in the social cognition research field, to date, there are still no normative data for the Italian population, thus limiting its application in a clinical context. In this study, we report procedures and normative data for the Italian version of the test. A hundred and thirty-two healthy Italian participants aged between 20 and 79 years with at least 5 years of education were recruited on a voluntary basis. They were administered the EK-60F Test from the Ekman and Friesen series of Pictures of Facial Affect after a preliminary semantic recognition test of the six basic emotions (i.e., anger, fear, sadness, happiness, disgust, surprise). Data were analyzed according to the Capitani procedure [1]. The regression analysis revealed significant effects of demographic variables, with younger, more educated, female subjects showing higher scores. Normative data were then applied to a sample of 15 bvFTD patients which showed global impaired performance in the task, consistently with the clinical condition. We provided EK-60F Test normative data for the Italian population allowing the investigation of global emotion recognition ability as well as selective impairment of basic emotions recognition, both for clinical and research purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1015-1021
Number of pages7
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia
  • Ekman 60-Faces Test
  • Emotion recognition
  • Social cognition
  • Standardization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Dermatology
  • Medicine(all)


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