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Schizophr Res. 1998 May 25;31(2-3):159-65.

Risperidone versus haloperidol for perception of emotion in treatment-resistant schizophrenia: preliminary findings.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.


Currently, little is known about the pharmacological effects of the new generation of antipsychotic medications on perception of emotion in schizophrenia. The present study was designed to compare the effects of risperidone versus haloperidol on the ability to perceive emotion in 20 treatment-resistant schizophrenia patients, using a double-blind design. Measures of emotion perception included a facial emotion identification test (still photographs presented on videotape), a voice emotion identification test (audiotape), and an affect perception test (brief interpersonal vignettes presented on videotape). These measures were administered during the final week of baseline and after 8 weeks of double-blind medication. Risperidone treatment produced a greater effect on patients' ability to perceive emotion compared with haloperidol treatment. Additionally, all patients who received risperidone demonstrated improvement in performance between baseline and retest, compared with four of the nine patients who received haloperidol. When changes in positive symptoms were statistically controlled, the results remained significant. These findings suggest that resperidone may facilitate patients' ability to accurately perceive emotion, an effect which may be mediated either directly by risperidone's pharmacological action or perhaps indirectly by its influence on basic neurocognition.

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