Facial emotion recognition ability: psychiatry nurses versus nurses from other departments

Gozde Gultekin, Zeliha Kincir, Merve Kurt, Yasir Catal, Asli Acil, Aybike Aydin, Mualla Özcan, Busra N Delikkaya, Selma Kacar, Murat Emul


Purpose: Facial emotion recognition is a basic element in non-verbal communication. Although some researchers have shown that recognizing facial expressions may be important in the interaction between doctors and patients, there are no studies concerning facial emotion recognition in nurses. Here, we aimed to investigate facial emotion recognition ability in nurses and compare the abilities between nurses from psychiatry and other departments.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, sixty seven nurses were divided into two groups according to their departments: psychiatry (n=31); and, other departments (n=36). A Facial Emotion Recognition Test, constructed from a set of photographs from Ekman and Friesen's book “Pictures of Facial Affect”, was administered to all participants.

Results: In whole group, the highest mean accuracy rate of recognizing facial emotion was the happy (99.14%) while the lowest accurately recognized facial expression was fear (47.71%). There were no significant differences between two groups among mean accuracy rates in recognizing happy, sad, fear, angry, surprised facial emotion expressions (for all, p>0.05). The ability of recognizing disgusted and neutral facial emotions tended to be better in other nurses than psychiatry nurses (p=0.052 and p=0.053, respectively)

Conclusion: This study was the first that revealed indifference in the ability of FER between psychiatry nurses and non-psychiatry nurses. In medical education curricula throughout the world, no specific training program is scheduled for recognizing emotional cues of patients. We considered that improving the ability of recognizing facial emotion expression in medical stuff might be beneficial in reducing inappropriate patient-medical stuff interaction.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25011/cim.v39i6.27503


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