Perception of facial affect in chronic schizophrenia and right brain damage
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This study was designed to compare the performance of 50 chronic schizophrenics (CS) to that of 30 right brain-damaged patients (R), and 50 healthy controls (N) on several facial perception measures: Emotion Labelling and Recognition, and the Benton Facial Recognition Test. CSs were diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria and their psychiatric state was assessed using the PANSS scale. All subjects were right handed. Their cognitive state was assessed using the MMSE. Subjects rated their current mood on a visual analogue scale. The results showed that the CSs and Rs were significantly impaired compared to Ns for the emotional tasks but did not differ from each other. Moreover, the patient groups were significantly less accurate in recognising emotionally neutral facial stimuli. Each subject group had more difficulty processing negative relative to positive affect. The deficit in schizophrenia was found to be stable, which may reflect a trait-like, rather than a state-dependent, characteristic. Moreover, some support is provided for the notion that facial affect perception in chronic schizophrenia is associated with right hemisphere dysfunction.
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K. Kucharska-Pietura, Department of Psychiatry, Department of Clinical Psychology, Lublin University Medical School, 2 Abramowicka St., 20-442 Lublin, Poland