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Psychiatry Res. 2003 Aug 1;119(3):261-70.

The expression and experience of emotion in schizophrenia: a study of social interactions.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.


Previous studies on emotional expression and experience in schizophrenia indicate that patients show significantly fewer outward displays of emotion than controls despite similar self-reports of emotional experience in response to various non-social stimuli (e.g. film clips, flavored drinks). However, it is unclear if this disjunction between emotional experience and expression in schizophrenia extends to the interpersonal domain. This study compared 33 patients with schizophrenia and 15 non-psychiatric controls on emotional expression and experience during a social role play. Results showed that patients were significantly less expressive than controls but the two groups reported equal levels of emotional experience. Neither clinical blunting ratings nor behavioral ratings of facial expressivity were related to emotional experience in patients. These results extend prior findings of an expression/experience disjunction in schizophrenia to a social domain. Implications for understanding social dysfunction in schizophrenia and directions for future study are discussed.

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