Biased Attention to Facial Expressions of Ambiguous Emotions in Borderline Personality Disorder: An Eye-Tracking Study

Deborah Kaiser*, Gitta A. Jacob, Linda van Zutphen, Nicolette Siep, Andreas Sprenger, Brunna Tuschen-Caffier, Alena Senft, Arnoud Arntz, Gregor Domes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Preliminary evidence suggests that biased attention could be crucial in
fostering the emotion recognition abnormalities in borderline personality
disorder (BPD). We compared BPD patients to Cluster-C personality disorder (CC) patients and non-patients (NP) regarding emotion recognition in
ambiguous faces and their visual attention allocation to the eyes. The role
of comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in BPD regarding emotion recognition and visual attention was explored. BPD patients fixated the
eyes of angry/happy, sad/happy, and fearful/sad blends longer than nonpatients. This visual attention pattern was mainly driven by BPD patients
with PTSD. This subgroup also demonstrated longer fixations than CC
patients and a trend towards longer fixations than BPD patients without
PTSD for the angry/happy and fearful/sad blends. Emotion recognition was
not altered in BPD. Biased visual attention towards the eyes of ambiguous
facial expressions in BPD might be due to trauma-related attentional bias
rather than to impairments in facial emotion recognition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-690
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Personality Disorders
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Keywords

  • borderline personality disorder
  • emotion recognition
  • face perception
  • eye tracking
  • visual attention bias
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • STRUCTURED CLINICAL INTERVIEW
  • POSTTRAUMATIC-STRESS-DISORDER
  • DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR-THERAPY
  • CHILDHOOD SEXUAL-ABUSE
  • AXIS-I COMORBIDITY
  • PSYCHOMETRIC EVALUATION
  • RECOGNITION
  • THREAT
  • SENSITIVITY
  • CHILDREN

Cite this

Kaiser, D., Jacob, G. A., van Zutphen, L., Siep, N., Sprenger, A., Tuschen-Caffier, B., Senft, A., Arntz, A., & Domes, G. (2019). Biased Attention to Facial Expressions of Ambiguous Emotions in Borderline Personality Disorder: An Eye-Tracking Study. Journal of Personality Disorders, 33(5), 671-690. https://doi.org/10.1521/pedi_2019_33_363