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Schizophr Bull. 1998;24(3):399-412.

Facial expressions of emotions and schizophrenia: a review.

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Dept. of Psychology, Banaras Hindu University, India.


It is generally agreed that schizophrenia patients show a markedly reduced ability to perceive and express facial emotions. Previous studies have shown, however, that such deficits are emotion-specific in schizophrenia and not generalized. Three kinds of studies were examined: decoding studies dealing with schizophrenia patients' ability to perceive universally recognized facial expressions of emotions, encoding studies dealing with schizophrenia patients' ability to express certain facial emotions, and studies of subjective reactions of patients' sensitivity toward universally recognized facial expressions of emotions. A review of these studies shows that schizophrenia patients, despite a general impairment of perception or expression of facial emotions, are highly sensitive to certain negative emotions of fear and anger. These observations are discussed in the light of hemispheric theory, which accounts for a generalized performance deficit, and social-cognitive theory, which accounts for an emotion-specific deficit in schizophrenia.

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