Effects of sad mood on facial emotion recognition in Chinese people

Tatia M.C. LEE, Emily H.H. NG, S.W. TANG, Che Hin Chetwyn CHAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the influence of sad mood on the judgment of ambiguous facial emotion expressions among 47 healthy volunteers who had been induced to feel sad (n = 13), neutral (n = 15), or happy (n = 19) emotions by watching video clips. The findings suggest that when the targets were ambiguous, participants who were in a sad mood tended to classify them in the negative emotional categories rather than the positive emotional categories. Also, this observation indicates that emotion-specific negative bias in the judgment of facial expressions is associated with a sad mood. The finding argues against a general impairment in decoding facial expressions. Furthermore, the observed mood-congruent negative bias was best predicted by spatial perception. The findings of this study provide insights into the cognitive processes underlying the interpersonal difficulties experienced by people in a sad mood, which may be predisposing factors in the development of clinical depression. Copyright © 2007 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-43
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2008


Lee, T. M. C., Ng, E. H. H., Tang, S. W., & Chan, C. C. H. (2008). Effects of sad mood on facial emotion recognition in Chinese people. Psychiatry Research, 159(1-2), 37-43. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2007.04.022


  • Mood
  • Sadness
  • Depressed mood
  • Facial emotion
  • Facial expressions


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