Brain dysfunctions during facial discrimination in schizophrenia: Selective association to affect decoding

Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA, Los Angeles CA 90095, USA.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.47). 01/2011; 191(1):44-50. DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.09.005
Source: PubMed


Schizophrenia patients exhibit impaired facial affect perception, yet the exact nature of this impairment remains unclear. We investigated neural activity related to processing facial emotional and non-emotional information and complex images in 12 schizophrenia patients and 15 healthy controls using functional magnetic resonance imaging. All subjects performed a facial information processing task with three conditions: matching facial emotion, matching facial identity, and matching complex visual patterns. Patients and controls showed comparable behavioral performance in all task conditions. The neural activation patterns in schizophrenia patients and healthy controls were distinctly different while processing affect-related facial information but not other non-emotional facial features. During emotion matching, orbital frontal cortex and left amydala activations were found in controls but not in patients. When comparing emotion versus identity matching, controls activated the fusiform and middle temporal gyri, left superior temporal gyrus, and right inferior and middle frontal gyrus, whereas schizophrenia patients only activated the middle and inferior frontal gyri, the frontal operculi and the right insular cortex. Our findings suggest that schizophrenia patients and healthy controls may utilize different neural networks when processing facial emotional information.

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    • "In terms of emotion, patients with schizophrenia showed lower rates of correct theme identification than controls, particularly during the negative emotional condition. According to previous studies, normal people showed better task performance when the emotional valence and arousal were prominent [40], while patients with schizophrenia exhibited low task performance during a negative emotional situation [41,42]. Furthermore, patients with schizophrenia also had reduced prefrontal activity while negative emotional stimuli were presented [43]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Effective integration of visual information is necessary to utilize abstract thinking, but patients with schizophrenia have slow eye movement and usually explore limited visual information. This study examines the relationship between abstract thinking ability and the pattern of eye gaze in patients with schizophrenia using a novel theme identification task. Twenty patients with schizophrenia and 22 healthy controls completed the theme identification task, in which subjects selected which word, out of a set of provided words, best described the theme of a picture. Eye gaze while performing the task was recorded by the eye tracker. Patients exhibited a significantly lower correct rate for theme identification and lesser fixation and saccade counts than controls. The correct rate was significantly correlated with the fixation count in patients, but not in controls. Patients with schizophrenia showed impaired abstract thinking and decreased quality of gaze, which were positively associated with each other. Theme identification and eye gaze appear to be useful as tools for the objective measurement of abstract thinking in patients with schizophrenia.
    Behavioral and Brain Functions 04/2014; 10(1):13. DOI:10.1186/1744-9081-10-13 · 1.97 Impact Factor
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    • "However, while changes in amygdala activation were observed irrespective of task, the fusiform gyrus was less activated only in explicit tasks. Similar results are reported in a recent study by Quintana et al. (2011), who report underactivation in the fusiform gyrus only when attention is directed to emotional features of a stimulus. These findings further support the notion that at least two separate systems are impaired in emotion processing in patients with schizophrenia: a fast, pre-attentive system , involving the amygdala and its surrounding network , and, at least in visual emotion perception, an attention-modulated system, which also seems deficient but is only involved when participants have to consciously process facial features. "
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