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J Psychiatr Res. 2015 Dec;71:112-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.10.001. Epub 2015 Oct 9.

Implicit emotion perception in schizophrenia.

Author information

1
Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, NY, United States; Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY, United States; Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States. Electronic address: Ftremeau@NKI.RFMH.ORG.
2
Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States; University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, United States.
3
Psychology Department, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, United States.
4
Institute for Social and Psychiatric Initiatives (InSPIRES), New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States.
5
Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, NY, United States.
6
Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, NY, United States; Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States.
7
Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States; Institute for Social and Psychiatric Initiatives (InSPIRES), New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States.
8
Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, NY, United States; Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY, United States.

Abstract

Explicit but not implicit facial emotion perception has been shown to be impaired in schizophrenia. In this study, we used newly developed technology in social neuroscience to examine implicit emotion processing. It has been shown that when people look at faces, they automatically infer social traits, and these trait judgments rely heavily on facial features and subtle emotion expressions even with neutral faces. Eighty-one individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and 62 control subjects completed a computer task with 30 well-characterized neutral faces. They rated each face on 10 trait judgments: attractive, mean, trustworthy, intelligent, dominant, fun, sociable, aggressive, emotionally stable and weird. The degree to which trait ratings were predicted by objectively-measured subtle emotion expressions served as a measure of implicit emotion processing. Explicit emotion recognition was also examined. Trait ratings were significantly predicted by subtle facial emotional expressions in controls and patients. However, impairment in the implicit emotion perception of fear, happiness, anger and surprise was found in patients. Moreover, these deficits were associated with poorer everyday problem-solving skills and were relatively independent of explicit emotion recognition. Implicit emotion processing is impaired in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Deficits in implicit and explicit emotion perception independently contribute to the patients' poor daily life skills. More research is needed to fully understand the role of implicit and explicit processes in the functional deficits of patients, in order to develop targeted and useful remediation interventions.

KEYWORDS:

Emotion recognition; Explicit; Implicit; Social cognition; Social trait

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