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Br J Psychiatry. 2007 Aug;191:126-30.

Emotion recognition and genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia.

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  • 1University of Lyon, Centre Hospitalier Le Vinatier, Bron, France.



Epidemiological studies of schizophrenia suggest that this disorder has a substantial genetic component. Cognitive and social abilities, as well as the volumes of brain regions involved in emotion processing, have been found to be distributed along a continuum when comparing patients, siblings and controls, with siblings showing intermediate scores.


To establish whether facial expression recognition is impaired in unaffected siblings of patients.


Emotion and gender recognition were evaluated in a three-group pre-post study design in drug-naive patients with first-episode schizophrenia (n=40) and their unaffected siblings (n=30) compared with controls (n=26).


Patients and their healthy siblings showed impaired emotion recognition but normal gender recognition compared with controls. Patients'performance did not improve despite effective clinical stabilisation.


Impaired performance in healthy siblings and time stability in patients provides evidence of impairment of facial emotion recognition as an actual phenotype of schizophrenia.

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