DOI: 10.1002/imhj.22111 ISSN: 0163-9641

Development of a tool for infant facial emotion recognition (InFER) for postpartum mothers with mental illnesses

Makarand V. Pantoji, Sundarnag Ganjekar, Urvakhsh Meherwan Mehta, Prabha S. Chandra, Harish Thippeswamy
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health


Understanding deficits in recognition of infant emotions in mothers with mental illnesses is limited by the lack of validated instruments. We present the development and content validation of the infant facial emotion recognition tool (InFER) in India to examine the ability of mothers to detect the infants' emotions. A total of 164 images of infant faces in various emotional states were gathered from the parents of four infants (two male and two female: up to 12 months old). Infant emotion in each image was identified by the respective mother. Content validation was carried out by 21 experts. Images with ≥70% concordance among experts were selected. The newly developed tool, InFER, consists of a total 39 infant images representing the six basic emotions. This tool was then administered among mothers during their postpartum period—10 healthy mothers and 10 mothers who had remitted from any schizophrenia spectrum disorder, bipolar affective disorder or major depressive disorder. The mean age and mean years of education for both groups were comparable (age∼25 years, education ∼15 years). A significant difference was found between the two groups in their ability to recognize infant emotions (Mann–Whitney U = 12.5; p = 0.004). InFER is a promising tool in Indian settings for understanding maternal recognition of infant emotions.

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