Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Reflexive Gaze Shifts and Fear Recognition Deficits in Children With Callous-unemotional Traits and Impulsivity/Conduct Problems

Version 1 : Received: 1 September 2021 / Approved: 3 September 2021 / Online: 3 September 2021 (13:36:40 CEST)

How to cite: Centifanti, *.C.M.; Stickle, *.R.; Thomas, J.; Falcón, A.; Thomson, N.D.; Gamer, M. Reflexive Gaze Shifts and Fear Recognition Deficits in Children With Callous-unemotional Traits and Impulsivity/Conduct Problems. Preprints 2021, 2021090064 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202109.0064.v1). Centifanti, *.C.M.; Stickle, *.R.; Thomas, J.; Falcón, A.; Thomson, N.D.; Gamer, M. Reflexive Gaze Shifts and Fear Recognition Deficits in Children With Callous-unemotional Traits and Impulsivity/Conduct Problems. Preprints 2021, 2021090064 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202109.0064.v1).

Abstract

The ability to efficiently recognize the emotions on others’ faces is something that most of us take for granted. Children with callous-unemotional (CU) traits and impulsivity/conduct problems (ICP), such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, have been previously described as being “fear blind”. This is also associated with looking less at the eye regions of fearful faces, which are highly diagnostic. Previous attempts to intervene into emotion recognition strategies have not had lasting effects on participants’ fear recognition abilities. Here we present both (a) additional evidence that there is a two-part causal chain, from personality traits to face recognition strategies using the eyes, then from strategies to rates of recognizing fear in others; and (b) a pilot intervention that had persistent effects for weeks after the end of instruction. Further, the intervention led to more change in those with the highest CU traits. This both clarifies the specific mechanisms linking personality to emotion recognition and shows that the process is fundamentally malleable. It is possible that such training could promote empathy and reduce the rates of antisocial behavior in specific populations in the future.

Keywords

callous-unemotional traits; eye-tracking; emotions; conduct problems; emotion recognition.

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