Deficits ill the decoding of facial emotional expressions may play a role in the persistence of depression. In a prospective longitudinal study, 33 depressed outpatients (30 major depression, 2 dysthymia, and 1 cyclothymic disorder) judged schematic faces with respect to the emotions they expressed (fear, happiness, anger, sadness, disgust, surprise, rejection, and invitation) at admission (T-0) and again 6 and 30 weeks later. Severity of depression (BDI) was assessed at these three times. Those patients who perceived less sadness, rejection, or anger in faces at T-0 were less likely to show a favorable course of depression after 6 weeks (sadness, anger) or after 30 weeks (sadness, rejection, anger). These relationships could not be ascribed to initial levels of depression, age, or gender. The perception of sadness and rejection did not change over time, and therefore may have trait-like qualities. Depression appears to be more persistent in the subgroup that is hyposensitive to (negative) facial signals.