The effects of social anxiety and depression on the evaluation of facial crowds

Eva Gilboa-Schechtman, Gadi Presburger, Sofi Marom, Haggai Hermesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Facial crowds of emotion connoting approval or criticism are linked to the fears of socially anxious individuals. We examined evaluation ratings and decision latencies of mixed facial displays by individuals with generalized social phobia (GSPs, n=18), individuals with comorbid depression and GSP (COMs, n=18), and normal controls (CONs, n=18). First, we postulated that GSPs will assign more negative ratings to predominantly disapproving audiences as compared to CONs, and that GSPs will be faster in their evaluation of these audiences (negative bias hypothesis). Second, we expected depression, but not social anxiety, to be associated with diminished positive evaluation of audiences containing predominantly happy expressions and with a slower processing of such positive cues (the impaired positivity hypothesis). Results supported the negative bias hypothesis, and provided partial support for the impaired positivity hypothesis. The importance of examining the processing of complex non-verbal cues in social anxiety and in depression is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-474
Number of pages8
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation Grant No. 866-99. We thank Raya Mansour for her help in the data collection and coordination process. The first author thanks the Department of Psychology at Yale University for its hospitality.


  • Cognitive biases
  • Depression
  • Evaluation
  • Facial expressions
  • Social phobia


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