Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Feldner, Matthew T

Committee Member/Reader

Ferguson, Alishia

Committee Member/Second Reader

Funkhouser, Eric M

Committee Member/Third Reader

Ham, Lindsay


People with PTSD have problems with interpersonal relationships, but the maintaining mechanisms are not well studied. One potential mechanism relating PTSD and interpersonal difficulties is an inability for people with PTSD to recognize another’s emotion, preventing them from taking their perspective or reacting empathetically. This study aimed to experimentally test the effects of trauma cue exposure on participants with subthreshold PTSD’s accuracy in identifying emotions depicted by peoples’ eyes. Participants were randomly assigned to either the control (i.e., neutral script) or experimental condition (i.e., traumatic event script) prior to completing the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” task to measure emotion recognition accuracy. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to examine the effects of traumatic event script presentation on participants’ accuracy in identifying emotions depicted by peoples’ eyes. Contrary to our hypothesis that individuals assigned to the experimental condition would demonstrate lesser accuracy in identifying emotions, there was not a significant difference between the experimental (M = 26.45; SD = 3.59) and control [M = 25.64; SD = 5.63; F(21) = .165, p = .689, d = 0.17] conditions in terms of scores on the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” task.