A new test of human emotion processing...

Comprehensive Affect Testing System (C. A. T. S)

by Karen B. Froming, PhD, C. Michael Levy, PhD, Sarah G. Schaffer, PhD, & Paul Ekman, PhD

-- Overview of the Emotion Tests --

Using Dr. Paul Ekman's internationally-normed faces, the Comprehensive Affect Testing System (C.A.T.S.) provides a well-validated, reliable computerized test of human emotion processing. It provides clinical and research professionals with a tool to efficiently determine the subtle multidimensional deficits in emotion processing that can result from disease or injury.

This ensemble of emotion tests enables clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, neurologists, educators, speech therapists and other related disciplines to assess dysfunctional processing of emotion expressed by the human face and voice. Thirteen subtests help differentiate specific areas of dysfunction that individual patients can exhibit relative to normal populations during emotion processing:

  • Ekman 3-Faces Task

  • Identity Matching

  • Affect Matching

  • Affect Discrimination

  • Affect Naming

  • Prosody Identification

  • Prosody Naming

  • Non-emotional Prosody Discrimination

  • Emotional Prosody Discrimination

  • Match Emotional Prosody to Face

  • Match Emotional Face to Prosody

  • Conflicting Facial Emotion/Prosody -- Respond to Face

  • Conflicting Facial Emotion/Prosody -- Respond to Prosody

The faces were based on the well-standardized Ekman collection, devised by Paul Ekman and his colleagues. These internationally-recognized standard faces have been digitally modified to remove all cues (jewelry, backgrounds, hair stylings, etc.) that might facilitate identification of emotions or discrimination among emotions by any means other than the affect expressed by the facial muscles. Similar care was used in the preparation of the prosody stimuli.

The Comprehensive Affect Testing System collects the accuracy and response latency of each answer submitted. In addition, it also reports all answers explicitly considered by the respondent prior to entry of the final answer, which can provide an indeciveness index.

Normative data have been collected on a large sample, including normal school-age children and college students and several major patient populations including individuals with frontotemporal dementia, Huntington's Disease, unlilateral stroke, and schizophrenia. An online database is being established that will enable any professional to access and review all available performance records. Users are strongly encouraged to contribute the data that they collect to this database. 

The emotion tests are normally administered from a desktop or notebook computer, but a paper + CD-ROM version is available for use in appropriate other environments, such as telemetered hospital settings that prohibit electronic equipment or prisons. 

The emotion test administrator has access to an easy-to-use setup screen that enables any test to be scheduled for presentation in any order. If there is not sufficient time to administer the entire testing system (requiring about 45-60 minutes for normal adults), an abbreviated version, involving 65% fewer trials, can be specified, which requires only about 20 minutes to administer. Current published norms for the shortened version of this emotion test are sex- and age-adjusted (from 20 to 79 yr)

Data (collected using either the PC or the paper version for stimulus presentation) are reported in a formatted text report, suitable for a patient's chart or for distribution over the Internet. The data are also saved in a comma-delimited file to facilitate entry into statistical packages in research environments.

For a more complete description of each emotion subtest, click here.

Windows-based versions of the Comprehensive Affect Testing System are available in US- and UK-English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese.  

For ordering information, including quantity discounts for site licensing, click here.

The Comprehensive Affect Testing System software and the User's Manual, including current norms, can be downloaded by clinical and research professionals with interests in tests of emotion processing. 
Please email us (hq@psychologysoftware.com) about your interest and we will provide downloading instructions.




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