Drugs and their Effect on Emotion Recognition
Maria Jose Fernandez-Serrano, the main author of the research, found that 70% of drug abusers present some type of neuropsychological deterioration, regardless of the type of substance consumed. Fernandez’s target population were people who had consumed drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, heroin, and MDMA.
The scientists studied 123- polysubstance abusers and 67 non-drug users with similar social backgrounds (education/age). The researchers carried out neuropsychological evaluations on each individual that consisted of emotional processing and neurocognitive tests.
Deterioration was measured in the degree of the working memory, of fluency, of flexibility, and of multitasking ability.
Although other studies have been conducted on emotional recognition by drug abusers, they were focused on recognition as a unit process. The Granada researchers analyzed the relation between drug abuse and recognition of basic universal emotions (happiness, surprise, anger, fear, sadness, contempt and disgust) by drug abusers.
Fernandez-Serrano states, “[the results obtained] should be employed to develop political and social policies aimed at promoting adequate rehab programs adapted to the neuropsychological profile of drug-abusers.”