Symptoms of borderline personality disorder often mimic traits of other psychiatric disorders, complicating diagnosis and treatment. But researchers in Canada say they have identified a characteristic that may be unique to borderline personality disorder: a tendency to misinterpret emotions expressed by the face.
Although more research is needed to understand the brain mechanisms involved in these misperceptions and their significance, Ruocco called these "potentially important" deficits.
"There may be neurobiological factors that contribute to these biases in emotion perception," he said. Pinpointing those factors might lead to better understanding of the illness and improved treatments.
Not only did subjects with borderline personality disorder misread facial emotions, the studies showed, but they also took more time to interpret facial emotions than others. And when they perceived anger, it induced stronger reactions than in healthy control subjects, Ruocco's team found.
The National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder has more about borderline personality disorder.