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

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118. An ERP Examination Of Facial Affect Processing In Persons With Schizotypy

Deficits in facial affect recognition have been widely investigated in schizophrenia. Their performance on facial affect recognition tasks have shown an apparent deficit in social cognitive processing. It is still unclear if these impairments reflect a trait-like vulnerability for schizophrenia. One way to address this question is to investigate individuals across the schizophrenia spectrum, including schizotypy. Schizotypy is conceptualized as a subclinical manifestation of the same biological factors that give rise to schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The current study utilized electroencephalographic methods to understand the neuronal processes involved in emotion recognition in schizotypic persons. Early structural encoding and facial affect decoding of facial expressions were examined during a continuous performance task (CPT). 20 participants high in schizotypy and 20 participants low in schizotypy were identified with the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire-Brief. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were evaluated during a facial affect recognition CPT. Amplitudes for the facial structural encoding N170 and facial affect decoding N250 ERP components were analyzed at the frontal, central, and posterior sites, specifically for fear and neutral facial expressions. No significant differences were found between controls and schizotypes on N170 and N250 ERP amplitudes. Methodological limitations may have limited the identification of facial affect recognition deficits in this population.

Jaime Morales
Indiana University Bloomington

Mark Sergi
California State University, Northridge


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