Computerized Assessment of Emotion Recognition Skills

Period of Performance: 04/10/2008 - 04/09/2010


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Innovation Research and Training, Inc.
Durham, NC 27713
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The purpose of this grant proposal is to develop a web-based, audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (audio-CASI) software package for assessing emotion recognition skills in young children. A consistent relationship between emotional knowledge and social competence in children has been well-established. Early preventive interventions are needed to successfully alter maladaptive emotion knowledge skills. In fact, several evidence-based violence prevention and social skills intervention programs include training on emotional recognition skills. Despite these advances in the study of emotion recognition skills, there currently exists no standardized, normed measure of these skills with known psychometric properties for young children. Thus, mental health professionals and researchers do not have access to state-of-the-art measures to assess the effectiveness of their interventions or to establish intervention goals related to social cognitive functioning. The current proposal is designed to begin to fill these gaps by creating professional quality software and photographs to assess children's ability to accurately identify basic emotions in facial expressions. Phase I includes two basic sets of aims regarding product development and product feasibility testing. The product development aims include creating digital photographs of facial emotion expressions of happy, sad, angry, scared, surprise, disgust, and ambiguous with young children who vary by sex and race; designing assessment questions to reliably and validly assess emotion recognition skills; creating scoring algorithms for the measure; and developing attractive, user-friendly, developmentally and culturally appropriate web-based software that incorporates digital photographs, assessment items, and scoring algorithms. The product testing aims include piloting the web-based measure to determine feasibility, appropriateness, clarity, interest, and effectiveness; and to conduct quantitative analyses to begin to examine the initial psychometric properties of the measure. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE Emotional knowledge plays a critical role in a child's development and should continue to be a standard part of pre-school, elementary, and middle school education. The creation and norming of an emotion recognition measure that can easily and quickly be administered and scored using a self-administered and web-based computer program will contribute to allowing for more universal and standardized screening of children's emotional knowledge. The proposed tool will allow teachers, clinicians, and other professionals to measure the effects of curricula, preventive interventions, and treatment programs as well as provide a normed measure for use in assessing a child's emotional knowledge and understanding.