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Biol Psychiatry. 2000 Jul 15;48(2):127-36.

Emotion recognition deficit in schizophrenia: association with symptomatology and cognition.

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Schizophrenia Research Center, Neuropsychiatry Section, Department of Psychiatry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.



Previous investigations have found impaired recognition of facial affect in schizophrenia. Controversy exists as to whether this impairment represents a specific emotion recognition deficit when compared with other face recognition control tasks. Regardless of whether the emotion processing deficit is differential, it may uniquely influence other manifestations of schizophrenia. We compared patients and healthy control subjects on computerized tasks of emotion and age recognition. Performances on emotion and age recognition tasks were correlated with cognitive functioning and with symptomatology.


Thirty-five patients with schizophrenia and 45 healthy people underwent computerized testing for emotion and age recognition. Participants were assessed neuropsychologically, and patients were rated for positive and negative symptoms.


The patients with schizophrenia performed worse than control subjects on emotion and age recognition without differential deficit. In both groups, we found higher error rates for identification of emotion in female faces and for identification of sad versus happy faces. In schizophrenic patients, emotion but not age recognition correlated with severity of negative and positive symptoms. In healthy control subjects, neither task correlated with cognitive functions. In schizophrenic patients, emotion but not age recognition correlated with attention, verbal and spatial memory, and language abilities.


This study did not reveal a specific deficit for emotion recognition in schizophrenia; however, our findings lend support to the concept that emotion recognition is uniquely associated in schizophrenia with core symptomatology and cognitive domains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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