Date of Conferral







Elizabeth Matthews


A critical element in the development of interpersonal skills is the ability to recognize facial expressions. However, in persons with mild mental retardation (PMR), social interactions based on the recognition of others' emotional states may be compromised. Guided by the theory of mind, which allows one to make inferences on someone's mental states, differentiate facts from friction, and process others' beliefs and intentions, this study determined if emotion training impacted future emotion recognition scores in a PMR population and whether the variables of gender, age, and baseline Facial Expression of Emotions Stimuli and Test (FEEST) scores predicted changes in emotion recognition. Secondary data from a group of trainees identified as having mild mental retardation who participated in an emotion recognition training program (n = 31) were assessed. A paired samples t test revealed no differences between the pre-and post- assessments as a function of training, and the multiple regression analysis revealed that gender, age, and baseline FEEST score did not predict changes in emotional recognition. These findings, despite their non significance, offer a unique contribution to the field of mental retardation and contribute to theory of mind research in PMR populations. Positive social change implications include the potential ability to identify ways to improve social skills and effective training models to foster social inclusion in PMR population.