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Examining multisensory processing of emotional signals in PTSD

We are seeking participants with or without trauma history to take part in a study about the effects of trauma and PTSD on multisensory emotion processing.

Background information

Find out more about our study.

Understanding emotions is central to human interaction, and difficulty interpreting the emotions of other people has been linked to social and emotional difficulties in some people who experience mental health problems. Emotions are normally expressed and perceived via multiple senses. This means that in order to fully understand how everyday emotion processing is altered in individuals with certain life experiences, it is necessary to investigate how emotions are recognised using multiple different senses.

In this study we will investigate multisensory processing of emotional information from faces and voices while recording heart rate, skin response and electrical brain activity. This will allow us to investigate whether the process of combining information from multiple senses to understand emotions might be altered in individuals with certain experiences, and whether this could help us to explain some of the social and emotional difficulties that are sometimes experienced as part of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Study information

We will be recruiting for this study until December 2021, or until we reach capacity.

What's involved in the study

Participation involves completion of an online questionnaire about your social and emotional functioning and one or two site visits to the University of Bath or the University of Exeter. All participants will need to complete one 3 hour site visit involving computer tasks and measurement of electrical brain activity using an electroencephalogram (EEG). Participants reporting diagnosed or suspected PTSD will also need to complete an additional site visit where they will undergo an assessment of their PTSD symptoms.


To be eligible to participate in this study you must:

  • be aged 18 and over with typical or corrected-to-normal vision and hearing
  • be free of heart problems or previous heart surgery
  • be able to travel to the University of Bath or Exeter for a site visit

We are seeking either:

  • individuals with PTSD
  • individuals without PTSD who have had a traumatic experience(s) in the past
  • individuals without a history of PTSD or trauma

There are a small number of additional inclusion and exclusion criteria which we will check with the participant during an initial phone conversation.

What you'll get for taking part

You will be reimbursed for your time to the value of £8.00 an hour if you participate in the main study visits. In some cases, we may also be able to assist with travel costs up to the value of £50.00.


All information collected about you during the study will be kept strictly confidential within the research team, and will be made anonymous once data collection is complete. This study has received ethical approval.1

We'd love for you to be involved.

Take part in our research

Get in touch

If you have any questions about this research study, please contact the lead researcher.

1 Relevant ethics approval information - NHS LREC: 20/NE/0050, PREC: 20-230