HIV appears to diminish the ability to recognize fear in others’ faces, and various AIDS-definining events and neurocognitive problems are correlated with an inhibited ability to recognize happiness, Yahoo! News reports.  Publishing their findings in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Psychology, Italian researchers performed a cross-sectional single cohort study of 49 HIV-positive and 20 HIV-negative subjects.  They gave each participant a Facial Emotion Recognition Test, which measures the capacity to recognize the six most fundamental human emotions: disgust, anger, fear, happiness, surprise and sadness.  The researchers also assessed the general cognitive status of each participant.

The investigators found that HIV-positive subjects displayed a significantly lowered ability to recognize fear when compared with the control group, which was matched for age, gender and education.  This inability was directly correlated with difficulties in a word recall test.  They also found that AIDS-defining events, including pneumonia, Kaposi’s sarcoma or tuberculosis (TB), as well as an array of neurocognitive deficits, were correlated with an inability to determine happiness on human faces.

To read the Yahoo! News report, click here.

To read a release on the study, click here.

To read the study, click here.