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Dysfunctional Facial Affect Perception in People with Psychosis and their Siblings: Findings from an ERP Study
People with psychosis (PSY) exhibit event-related potential deficits in face processing. It is unclear if this impairment extends to unaffected siblings (SIB) as the two prior studies of SIB produced mixed results in small samples. We examined the face-sensitive N170 while 87 PSY, 34 SIB, and 46 healthy controls (HC) viewed faces (happy, angry, or neutral) and control images of houses. We also examined the N250, which has shown sensitivity to complex facial information such as different types of affect. For N170, PSY exhibited significantly reduced amplitudes to faces, but not buildings, compared to SIB and HC; SIB and HC did not significantly differ from each other. For N250, PSY and SIB showed a divergent pattern from HC for angry vs. happy faces: PSY and SIB showed larger N250 to angry vs. happy faces whereas HC showed the opposite pattern. Our results replicate N170 deficits in PSY and show no N170 deficit in the largest SIB sample examined to date. However, the N250 results show relatively stronger neural activation to angry faces in both PSY and SIB compared to HC, possibly indicative of an overly active social avoidance motivation system.