Implicit facial emotion recognition of fear and anger in obesity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Previous evidence about facial emotion recognition capability in obesity is few and not conclusive. Objective: We investigated the capability of female individuals affected by obesity to recognize the emotions of fear and anger through a facial emotion recognition task grounded on the implicit redundant target effect. Methods: 20 women affected by obesity and 20 healthy-weight women were enrolled. We administered an implicit facial emotion recognition task. Both reaction time and level of accuracy were computed. Moreover, the level of alexithymia was measured through the standard questionnaire. Results: Selective difficulties in recognizing the emotion of fear were observed in participants with obesity, when their performance was contrasted with healthy-weight controls. Instead, they showed the implicit redundant target effect when anger was the target. However, the two groups reported globally similar scores at the standard questionnaire relative to the level of alexithymia. Conclusions: Our result might agree with the hypothesis about affected individuals’ difficulties in being attentive to negative facial emotions, and specifically in the case of fearful expression. This study might encourage future research in which emotional processing will be investigated through subjective judgments and implicit/objective measurements. Level I: Experimental study.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Anger
  • Facial emotion recognition
  • Fear
  • Obesity
  • Redundant target effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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