Alexa Curtis

Doctor of Clinical Psychology, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2017
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Behind the Mask: Recognising Genuine and Masked Expressions of Emotion: The Effect of Therapists' Training and Experience

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Accurately recognising facial expressions of emotion is an integral component of emotional intelligence which can enhance therapeutic relationships. When emotions are masked or inhibited, duplicity can be betrayed through leakage of the underlying emotion occurring in the face. Being able to discern when emotions are masked or concealed may also contribute to therapy outcomes by alerting therapists to areas requiring further exploration. Although facial expressions of emotion have been widely researched, there has been scant investigation into psychologists' emotion recognition competencies or ability to detect deception. Ms Curtis explored whether recognition of facial emotion expressions, and the ability to discern authentic from falsified expressions, can be enhanced by training, and whether these skills are influenced by clinical experience. She found training had some effect on improving recognition of emotion expressions, particularly for sad expressions. Training was more effective for experienced psychologists in enhancing emotion recognition and detecting deception.

Associate Professor John Podd
Dr Stephen Hill
Dr Shane Harvey

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