Using the Perception of Facial Emotions to Aid in Diagnosis of Mood Disorders
A.B. Lucas S.S.
Mental illness affects 1.8 billion people globally (WHO, 2013). Yet, 30% of patients are misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed. The goal of this project was to create a novel, objective and efficient diagnostic method for mood disorders, based around disorder-specific facial emotion perception deficits. A universal trend in the perception of facial emotions within binocular rivalry for healthy participants was discovered which can aid in differential diagnosis.
I am a grade 12 student at A.B. Lucas Secondary School; I am heavily involved in volunteer work, research and competitions. I have been doing research as a volunteer at the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University for 4 years. I’ve always been interested in cognitive psychology and the opportunity to do high level research so early in my high school career has been amazing! This year my project was inspired by the anxiety and minor depression faced by my peers in a challenging final year. Doing research on the diagnosis of mental illness opened my eyes to the challenges faced by clinicians. As a result, I was inspired to use my knowledge of visual perception to try to create a supplementary test which could help to confirm a diagnosis. In the future, I would like to continue testing patients with a variety of mood disorders, in an attempt to investigate disorder specific results. My advice to anyone pursuing science fair would be to follow your passion. To me science fair is much more than a competition it represents my curiosity, fuels my passion and sustains my drive.