Symptom correlates of static and dynamic facial affect processing in schizophrenia: Evidence of a double dissociation?

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Abstract Schizophrenia patients have been shown to be compromised in their ability to recognize facial emotion. This deficit has been shown to be related to negative symptoms severity. However, to date, most studies have used static rather than dynamic depictions of faces. Nineteen patients with schizophrenia were compared with seventeen controls on 2 tasks; the first involving the discrimination of facial identity, emotion, and butterfly wings; the second testing emotion recognition using both static and dynamic stimuli. In the first task, the patients performed more poorly than controls for emotion discrimination only, confirming a specific deficit in facial emotion recognition. In the second task, patients performed more poorly in both static and dynamic facial emotion processing. An interesting pattern of associations suggestive of a possible double dissociation emerged in relation to correlations with symptom ratings: high negative symptom ratings were associated with poorer recognition of static displays of emotion, whereas high positive symptom ratings were associated with poorer recognition of dynamic displays of emotion. However, while the strength of associations between negative symptom ratings and accuracy during static and dynamic facial emotion processing was significantly different, those between positive symptom ratings and task performance were not. The results confirm a facial emotion-processing deficit in schizophrenia using more ecologically valid dynamic expressions of emotion. The pattern of findings may reflect differential patterns of cortical dysfunction associated with negative and positive symptoms of schizophrenia in the context of differential neural mechanisms for the processing of static and dynamic displays of facial emotion. ? The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680 - 687
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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