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Emotional facial recognition difficulties as primary deficit in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review
INTRODUCTION. It has recently been warned that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) show a deficit in emotional competence and emotional intelligence, specifically in their ability to emotional recognition.
PATIENTS AND METHODS. A systematic review of the scientific literature in reference to the emotional recognition of facial expressions in children with ADHD is presented in order to establish or rule the existence of emotional deficits as primary dysfunction in this disorder and, where appropriate, the effect size of the differences against normal development or neurotypical children.
RESULTS. The results reveal the recent interest in the issue and the lack of information. Although there is no complete agreement, most of the studies show that emotional recognition of facial expressions is affected in children with ADHD, showing them significantly less accurate than children from control groups in recognizing emotions communicated through facial expressions. A part of these studies make comparisons on the recognition of different discrete emotions; having observed that children with ADHD tend to a greater difficulty recognizing negative emotions, especially anger, fear, and disgust.