Methamphetamine addicts unable detect emotion in others

May 22nd, 2009 - 12:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, May 22 (IANS) Methamphetamine (MA) abusers find it quite beyond them to read human faces and struggle to detect emotion in others, says a joint study. The drug is an addictive stimulant.
Peter Rendell, associate professor of psychology at Australian Catholic University (ACU), postgraduate student Magdalena Mazur and Julie Henry, University of New South Wales tested 20 adults with an average history of four years of MA abuse.

These 20 adults were screened from more than 100 MA users who had been formally diagnosed with MA dependence, were not dependent on any other drug and did not have a medical condition.

Compared with a control group who had no history of drug use, the group who had used MA had greater difficulty detecting subtle differences in mental states and differentiating between basic facial expressions of emotion.

Rendell said that recognising emotion on people’s faces and understanding that others think about things differently are two of the most important aspects of social thinking.

“Being so significant to social thinking, we wanted to see whether MA users were impaired in these specific thought processes - and they clearly were,” he said.

“We therefore know that MA use has psychological consequences, and, potentially, consequences for these individuals’ social functioning,” he said, according to a ANU release.

The study was published recently in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology.

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