Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Pratte, Michael

Committee Member

Berman, Mitchell

Committee Member

Winer, E. Samuel

Committee Member

McKinney, Cliff

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychology


Depressed persons have demonstrated emotion based cognitive biases, specifically surrounding vigilance of negative information and avoidance of positivity. These biases are sometimes operationalized through emotion recognition tasks. However, previous emotion recognition tasks lack in their ability to accurately measure and decompose positivity avoidance with enhanced negativity, while accounting for basic cognitive processes that can drive the results. Therefore, we developed a novel emotion recognition task that examines emotional intensity thresholds, while accounting for general response bias. Linear mixed effects modeling revealed substantial individual differences on all conditions in the task, using both frequentist and Bayesian approaches. Additionally, the findings suggest that those with higher depression scores exhibit a greater cognitive response bias on emotion recognition tasks. Ultimately, this study provides evidence that there is variability in performance on the morphing paradigm, as further researcher is needed to assess the influence general response biases have on emotion recognition performance in depression.