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Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 29;6:22280. doi: 10.1038/srep22280.

Perception of the duration of emotional faces in schizophrenic patients.

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Institute of Affective and Social Neuroscience, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China.
Center for Psychiatric Research, Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, Beijing 100096, China.


The level of emotional timing deficit is a critical determinant of daily functions and social interactions in people with schizophrenia. This study demonstrated that people with schizophrenia have significant deficits in emotional time perception. Behaviorally, while the healthy controls overestimated the duration of happy and fearful faces, the patients underestimated the duration of emotional and neutral faces. Accordingly, an online ERP index of timing--the contingent negative variation (CNV) displayed larger amplitudes for emotional faces in the controls, whereas the CNV in the patients only showed overall smaller amplitudes when compared with the controls. In addition, the results of the N170 and the CNV suggest that the emotional processing and timing for facial expressions in schizophrenia might have a pattern of two-stage deterioration. Findings from the present work point to the importance of considering the time dimension of emotional processing in schizophrenia, based on which we are likely to discover aspects of emotional deficits that would be unnoticed in other studies. Furthermore, the perception deviation of the duration of emotional faces in schizophrenia suggests us to consider the magnitude of this temporal deviation as a quantitative biomarker for specific emotional/social dysfunctions in schizophrenia.

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