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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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66. THE EFFECT OF POSITIVE SCHIZOTYPY ON FACIAL EMOTION RECOGNITION: PERCEIVING HAPPY AND NEUTRAL FACES AS SAD

Facial Emotion Recognition (FER) deficits are well-established in schizophrenia patients. FER studies in schizotypy, however, show inconsistent findings, potentially due to failure to account for multidimensionality. The present study aims to examine the independent effects of positive and negative schizotypy on FER. Participants (n = 1228) completed the Penn Emotion Recognition Task and Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) online. An SPQ subscale score above 95th percentile was considered high; scores below the 90th percentile were considered low. We utilized a repeated measures design with positive and negative schizotypy status as between-subject factors—positive: high (n = 70) vs low (n = 1158); negative: high (n = 80) vs low (n = 1148)—and emotion of stimuli as the within-subjects factor. Results revealed a main effect for positive (but not negative) schizotypy on FER so that the high-status group was less accurate than low-status (d = -0.20), with simple effects for happy (d = -0.23) and neutral faces (d = -0.16). Post hoc analyses of incorrect responses revealed that, relative to low positive schizotypy, individuals high in positive schizotypy increasingly misperceived happy faces as sad (d = 0.33) and showed decreased misperceptions of happy faces as neutral (d = -0.38). For the neutral category, the positive schizotypy group increasingly misperceived faces as sad (d = 0.30) with decreased misperceptions of neutral faces as happy (d = -0.15). The present study demonstrates high positive (but not negative) schizotypy co-occurs with FER deficits and biases. Deficits were small and specific to positive and neutral faces: a bias towards interpreting these facial expressions as negative (i.e. sadness) may partly account for FER deficits in positive schizotypy.

Virgilio Gonzenbach
The University of Texas at Dallas

Amy Pinkham
The University of Texas at Dallas

 


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