School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Julia Michalek

PhD student



Project title: Emotion recognition in refugee children

Summary: Childhood and early adolescence are critical periods for the development of interpersonal skills and good decision-making strategies, and children who are maltreated or experience adverse effects in childhood experience high rates of both physical and mental health issues (Pine, 2015). The aim of this project is to measure the psychological impact of forced and voluntary migration on children’s interpersonal skills, and how current living conditions affect their well-being. Specifically, we ask whether emotion recognition, the foundation of healthy social communication (Blair, 2005), is impaired in refugee and migrant children. Sensitivity to certain facial emotions is impaired in children that have suffered abuse (Shackman et al., 2007) and it is therefore likely that refugee children will have impaired emotional recognition, disrupting healthy social communication and increasing vulnerability to mental health issue.