In recent years, an increasing number of studies have examined the mechanisms underlying nonverbal emotional information processing in people with high social anxiety (HSA). However, most of these studies have focused on the processing of facial expressions, and there has been scarce research on gesture or even face-gesture combined processing in HSA individuals. The present study explored the processing characteristics and mechanism of the interaction between gestures and facial expressions in people with HSA and low social anxiety (LSA). The present study recruited university students as participants and used the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale scores to distinguish the HSA and LSA groups. We used a 2 (group: HSA and LSA) × 2 (emotion valence: positive, negative) × 2 (task: face, gesture) multifactor mixed design, and videos of a single face or gesture and combined face-gesture cues were used as stimuli. We found that (1) there is a distinction in the processing of faces and gestures, with individuals recognizing gestures faster than faces; (2) there is an attentional enhancement in the processing of gestures, particularly for negative gestures; and (3) when the emotional valence of faces and gestures align, it facilitates the recognition of both. However, incongruent gestures have a stronger impact on the processing of facial expressions compared to facial expressions themselves, suggesting that the processing of facial emotions is more influenced by environmental cues provided by gestures. These findings indicated that gestures played an important role in emotional processing, and facial emotional processing was more dependent on the environmental cues derived from gestures, which helps to clarify the reasons for biases in the interpretation of emotional information in people with HSA.
Social Anxiety Research
Researchers discovered that anxious individuals utilize a less optimal region of the forebrain when navigating socially challenging situations compared to their non-anxious counterparts. This was determined through brain scans that mapped regions active during simulated social scenarios.
Social anxiety (SA), a prevalent comorbid condition in psychotic disorders with a negative impact on functioning, requires adequate intervention relatively early. Using a randomized controlled trial, we tested the efficacy of a group cognitive-behavioral therapy intervention for SA (CBT-SA) that we developed for youth who experienced the first episode of psychosis (FEP). For our primary outcome, we hypothesized that compared to the active control of group cognitive remediation (CR), the CBT-SA group would show a reduction in SA that would be maintained at 3- and 6-month follow-ups. For secondary outcomes, it was hypothesized that the CBT-SA group would show a reduction of positive and negative symptoms and improvements in recovery and functioning.
Ninety-six patients with an FEP and SA, recruited from five different FEP programs in the Montreal area, were randomized to 13 weekly group sessions of either CBT-SA or CR intervention.
Linear mixed models revealed that multiple measures of SA significantly reduced over time, but with no significant group differences. Positive and negative symptoms, as well as functioning improved over time, with negative symptoms and functioning exhibiting a greater reduction in the CBT-SA group.
While SA decreased over time with both interventions, a positive effect of the CBT-SA intervention on measures of negative symptoms, functioning, and self-reported recovery at follow-up suggests that our intervention had a positive effect that extended beyond symptoms specific to SA.
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02294409.
This article examined the impact of online education on the wellbeing and emotional health of college students. It considered the social value of stress and anxiety pathology as “normal” side effects throughout the COVID-19 lockdown. Factors appropriate for educational technology were selected and submitted for evaluation to a sample of 114 college students in a semi-structured questionnaire. This research found that educational content and delivery methods, as well as increased homework and time spent online, have potentially contributed to heightened levels of stress, depression, and social anxiety disorder among approximately one-third of students who have engaged in digital learning. The results also prove that young people were particularly susceptible to stress and social anxiety disorders during the lockdown, making them one of the most vulnerable social groups. To enhance the educational experience, several suggestions have been proposed, including adapting educational content, expanding Internet accessibility, providing appropriate homework, and adjusting schedules to accommodate students’ educational capabilities. Voluntary routine mental health assessments of students, teachers, and staff and customized online counseling for vulnerable subjects are recommended as primary health care measures during online education.
Click here for the article published by Psychotherapy (APA journal). Recent years have seen an inspiring breakthrough in psychotherapy – mindfulness and compassion-based interventions (MCBI) can help clinicians to acquire essential skills and improve the relationships they have with patients. A new study reveals that after MCBI, therapists see an increase in psychotherapeutic mindfulness skills …
Click here for the article published by Frontiers in Psychiatry. This study investigated the prevalence and predictors of mental health issues, specifically anxiety, depression, and stress, among 706 Ukrainians from different age groups and regions, both men and women, in the midst of the military conflict with Russia. The survey was conducted six months after …
Click here for the article published by Frontiers in Psychiatry. Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a serious concern for medical practitioners worldwide. Identifying its severity level (severe, moderate, mild, or none) can be challenging, which is why this paper proposes a solution. The researchers developed a method that classifies SAD severity levels using the patterns …
Viewing interactive art online can improve our mood and reduce anxiety. People reported significant improvements in mood and anxiety after just a few minutes of viewing an interactive Monet Water Lily art exhibition from Google Arts and Culture. The study also found that individuals with high levels of aesthetic responsiveness benefit more from online art viewing.
Publication date: Available online 5 May 2023Source: Neuroscience & Biobehavioral ReviewsAuthor(s): Catharina A. Hartman, Qi Chen, Berit Skretting Solberg, Ebba Du Rietz, Kari Klungsøyr, Samuele Cortese, Søren Dalsgaard, Jan Haavik, Marta Ribasés, Jeanette C. Mostert, Berit Libutzki, Sarah Kittel-Schneider, Bru Cormand, Melissa Vos, Henrik Larsson, Andreas Reif, Stephen V. Faraone, Alessio Bellato