Remediation of facial emotion perception in schizophrenia: Concomitant changes in visual attention
ABSTRACT The study examined changes in visual attention in schizophrenia following training with a social-cognitive remediation package designed to improve facial emotion recognition (the Micro-Expression Training Tool; METT). Forty out-patients with schizophrenia were randomly allocated to active training (METT; n=26), or repeated exposure (RE; n=14); all completed an emotion recognition task with concurrent eye movement recording. Emotion recognition accuracy was significantly improved in the METT group, and this effect was maintained after one week. Immediately following training, the METT group directed more eye movements within feature areas of faces (i.e., eyes, nose, mouth) compared to the RE group. The number of fixations directed to feature areas of faces was positively associated with emotion recognition accuracy prior to training. After one week, the differences between METT and RE groups in viewing feature areas of faces were reduced to trends. However, within group analyses of the METT group revealed significantly increased number of fixations to, and dwell time within, feature areas following training which were maintained after one week. These results provide the first evidence that improvements in emotion recognition following METT training are associated with changes in visual attention to the feature areas of emotional faces. These findings support the contribution of visual attention abnormalities to emotion recognition impairment in schizophrenia, and suggest that one mechanism for improving emotion recognition involves re-directing visual attention to relevant features of emotional faces.
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ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia patients have impairments in facial affect recognition and display scanpath abnormalities during the visual exploration of faces. These abnormalities are characterized by fewer fixations on salient feature areas and longer fixation durations. The present study investigated whether social-cognitive remediation not only improves performance in facial affect recognition but also normalizes patients' gaze behavior while looking at faces.Schizophrenia Research 09/2014; 159(2-3). DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2014.09.003 · 4.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Social cognition, which refers to how people think about themselves and others in the social world, is a core component for social, professional and interpersonal functioning and is commonly impaired in schizophrenia. This cognitive domain has strong associations with daily activities and could act as a link between social functioning and neurocognition. Two primary domains of social cognition: theory of mind and emotions perception have been studied for long and many arguments highlighted the direct relationship between impairments of these processes and the alteration of functional outcomes in schizophrenia. During the past 15 years, researchers are interested in social cognition and developed, in the field of cognitive remediation, some therapeutic approaches with the aim of reducing difficulties and handicaps. The first programs were supported by the assumption that the improvement of neurocognition was necessary before enhancing social cognition. At the same time, other authors hypothesized that it is possible to improve the performance of people with schizophrenia by directly targeting impaired functions, and so developed specific programs. More recently, researchers intend to develop global programs that take into account all components of social cognition impaired in schizophrenia in order to improve functional outcomes.L &E cute volution Psychiatrique 01/2013; 78(1):71–95. DOI:10.1016/j.evopsy.2013.01.003 · 0.13 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Previous research shows that emotion recognition in schizophrenia can be improved with targeted remediation that draws attention to important facial features (eyes, nose, mouth). Moreover, the effects of training have been shown to last for up to one month after training. The aim of this study was to investigate whether improved emotion recognition of novel faces is associated with concomitant changes in visual scanning of these same novel facial expressions. Thirty-nine participants with schizophrenia received emotion recognition training using Ekman's Micro-Expression Training Tool (METT), with emotion recognition and visual scanpath (VSP) recordings to face stimuli collected simultaneously. Baseline ratings of interpersonal and cognitive functioning were also collected from all participants. Post-METT training, participants showed changes in foveal attention to the features of facial expressions of emotion not used in METT training, which were generally consistent with the information about important features from the METT. In particular, there were changes in how participants looked at the features of facial expressions of emotion surprise, disgust, fear, happiness, and neutral, demonstrating that improved emotion recognition is paralleled by changes in the way participants with schizophrenia viewed novel facial expressions of emotion. However, there were overall decreases in foveal attention to sad and neutral faces that indicate more intensive instruction might be needed for these faces during training. Most importantly, the evidence shows that participant gender may affect training outcomes.Schizophrenia Research 09/2012; 141(2-3):234-40. DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2012.08.006 · 4.43 Impact Factor