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107. Emotion Recognition in Individuals with Psychosis and their First-degree Relatives: Exploring the Effects of Gender and Stimulus Intensity
Impairment in emotion recognition (ER) has been consistently demonstrated in schizophrenia, though findings are mixed in first-degree relatives, who have genetic liability for the disorder. In controls, it has been reported that females outperform males in identifying mild emotions only. The effect of gender on ER in psychotic disorders is understudied, and the few existing studies have yielded mixed findings. Forty-one controls (23 males, 18 females), 102 individuals with a psychotic disorder (60 males, 42 females) and 41 biological first-degree relatives (12 males, 29 females) completed the Penn Emotion Recognition Task. Regarding task accuracy, there was a significant main effect of intensity (mild vs extreme) and gender by intensity interaction. Females performed significantly better than males in the mild condition only. There was a main effect of group; relatives were significantly more accurate than individuals with psychosis, with controls demonstrating intermediate performance. Regarding reaction time, there was a significant main effect of group; controls and relatives were faster compared to the psychosis group. Findings are broadly consistent with existing literature showing ER deficits in schizophrenia and replicate previous work demonstrating gender differences in mild ER. We did not find evidence that ER deficits are associated with genetic liability for psychosis.