Facial emotion processing in schizophrenia : no evidence for a deficit specific to negative emotions in a differential deficit design

Johnston, Patrick J., Devir, Holly, & Karayanidis, Frini (2006) Facial emotion processing in schizophrenia : no evidence for a deficit specific to negative emotions in a differential deficit design. Psychiatry Research, 143(1), pp. 51-61.

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Abstract

People with schizophrenia perform poorly when recognising facial expressions of emotion, particularly negative emotions such as fear. This finding has been taken as evidence of a “negative emotion specific deficit”, putatively associated with a dysfunction in the limbic system, particularly the amygdala. An alternative explanation is that greater difficulty in recognising negative emotions may reflect a priori differences in task difficulty. The present study uses a differential deficit design to test the above argument. Facial emotion recognition accuracy for seven emotion categories was compared across three groups. Eighteen schizophrenia patients and one group of healthy age- and gender-matched controls viewed identical sets of stimuli. A second group of 18 age- and gender-matched controls viewed a degraded version of the same stimuli. The level of stimulus degradation was chosen so as to equate overall level of accuracy to the schizophrenia patients. Both the schizophrenia group and the degraded image control group showed reduced overall recognition accuracy and reduced recognition accuracy for fearful and sad facial stimuli compared with the intact-image control group. There were no differences in recognition accuracy for any emotion category between the schizophrenia group and the degraded image control group. These findings argue against a negative emotion specific deficit in schizophrenia.

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35 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 80170
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: schizophrenia, face processing, emotion, differential deficit
DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2005.08.006
ISSN: 0165-1781
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Psychiatry (incl. Psychotherapy) (110319)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology Psychopharmacology Physiological Psychology) (170101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Sensory Processes Perception and Performance (170112)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Deposited On: 28 Jan 2015 00:09
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2015 03:49

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