Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2016 Jul 7;16:218.
doi: 10.1186/s12888-016-0913-7.

Effects of Cue Modality and Emotional Category on Recognition of Nonverbal Emotional Signals in Schizophrenia

Affiliations
Free PMC article

Effects of Cue Modality and Emotional Category on Recognition of Nonverbal Emotional Signals in Schizophrenia

Bastian D Vogel et al. BMC Psychiatry. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Background: Impaired interpretation of nonverbal emotional cues in patients with schizophrenia has been reported in several studies and a clinical relevance of these deficits for social functioning has been assumed. However, it is unclear to what extent the impairments depend on specific emotions or specific channels of nonverbal communication.

Methods: Here, the effect of cue modality and emotional categories on accuracy of emotion recognition was evaluated in 21 patients with schizophrenia and compared to a healthy control group (n = 21). To this end, dynamic stimuli comprising speakers of both genders in three different sensory modalities (auditory, visual and audiovisual) and five emotional categories (happy, alluring, neutral, angry and disgusted) were used.

Results: Patients with schizophrenia were found to be impaired in emotion recognition in comparison to the control group across all stimuli. Considering specific emotions more severe deficits were revealed in the recognition of alluring stimuli and less severe deficits in the recognition of disgusted stimuli as compared to all other emotions. Regarding cue modality the extent of the impairment in emotional recognition did not significantly differ between auditory and visual cues across all emotional categories. However, patients with schizophrenia showed significantly more severe disturbances for vocal as compared to facial cues when sexual interest is expressed (alluring stimuli), whereas more severe disturbances for facial as compared to vocal cues were observed when happiness or anger is expressed.

Conclusion: Our results confirmed that perceptual impairments can be observed for vocal as well as facial cues conveying various social and emotional connotations. The observed differences in severity of impairments with most severe deficits for alluring expressions might be related to specific difficulties in recognizing the complex social emotional information of interpersonal intentions as compared to "basic" emotional states. Therefore, future studies evaluating perception of nonverbal cues should consider a broader range of social and emotional signals beyond basic emotions including attitudes and interpersonal intentions. Identifying specific domains of social perception particularly prone for misunderstandings in patients with schizophrenia might allow for a refinement of interventions aiming at improving social functioning.

Keywords: Alluring; Emotion; Facial expression; Modality; Prosody; Schizophrenia; Vocal expression.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Hit rates of the patients with schizophrenia (left) and the control group (right) for each emotional category in the different modalities. The bars represent the mean hit rates in the auditory (black), the visual (light gray) and the audiovisual modality (gray). Each error bar visualizes the corresponding standard error
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Reaction times of the patients with schizophrenia (left) and the control group (right) for each emotional category in the different modalities. The bars represent the mean hit rates in the auditory (black), the visual (light gray) and the audiovisual modality (gray). Each error bar visualizes the corresponding standard error

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 1 article

References

    1. Ross ED, Orbelo DM, Cartwright J, Hansel S, Burgard M, Testa JA, Buck R. Affective-prosodic deficits in schizophrenia: comparison to patients with brain damage and relation to schizophrenic symptoms [corrected] J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2001;70:597–604. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.70.5.597. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Castagna F, Montemagni C, Maria Milani A, Rocca G, Rocca P, Casacchia M, Bogetto F. Prosody recognition and audiovisual emotion matching in schizophrenia: the contribution of cognition and psychopathology. Psychiatry Res. 2013;205:192–198. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2012.08.038. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Hooker C, Park S. Emotion processing and its relationship to social functioning in schizophrenia patients. Psychiatry Res. 2002;112:41–50. doi: 10.1016/S0165-1781(02)00177-4. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Van’t Wout M, van Dijke A, Aleman A, Kessels RP, Pijpers W, Kahn RS. Fearful faces in schizophrenia: the relationship between patient characteristics and facial affect recognition. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2007;195:758–764. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318142cc31. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Walker E, Marwit SJ, Emory E. A cross-sectional study of emotion recognition in schizophrenics. J Abnorm Psychol. 1980;89:428–436. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.89.3.428. - DOI - PubMed
Feedback