People with psychosis show deficits recognizing facial emotions and disrupted activation in the underlying neural circuitry. We evaluated associations between facial emotion recognition and cortical thickness using a correlation-based approach to map structural covariance networks across the brain. Fifteen people with an early psychosis provided magnetic resonance scans and completed the Penn Emotion Recognition and Differentiation tasks. Fifteen historical controls provided magnetic resonance scans. Cortical thickness was computed using CIVET and analyzed with linear models. Seed-based structural covariance analysis was done using the mapping anatomical correlations across the cerebral cortex methodology. To map structural covariance networks involved in facial emotion recognition, the right somatosensory cortex and bilateral fusiform face areas were selected as seeds. Statistics were run in SurfStat. Findings showed increased cortical covariance between the right fusiform face region seed and right orbitofrontal cortex in controls than early psychosis subjects. Facial emotion recognition scores were not significantly associated with thickness in any region. A negative effect of Penn Differentiation scores on cortical covariance was seen between the left fusiform face area seed and right superior parietal lobule in early psychosis subjects. Results suggest that facial emotion recognition ability is related to covariance in a temporal-parietal network in early psychosis.
Keywords: Connectivity; Facial affect; First-episode schizophrenia; Magnetic resonance imaging; Social cognition.
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