Facial affect recognition and eye movements in schizotypal college students




Tsutsui, Shihoaut

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Schizophrenia is a severe, chronic, and complex mental disorder that causes great damage to an individual’s emotions and to his or her social life adjustment. The long-term goal of the current study was to contribute to the understanding of emotional face processing in schizophrenia in order to improve social functioning. The main objective was to examine the role of schizotypal symptoms in the ability to recognize the complex emotions as well as basic emotions. Simultaneously, eye-gaze movements were examined during the recognition of basic and complex emotional facial expressions. The current study revealed three main findings: relative to individuals low in schizotypal characteristics, schizotypal individuals were significantly less accurate on the complex emotion recognition task, particularly in the recognition of positive emotions; there was a positive relationship between emotion recognition accuracy and total fixation duration across all participants; and schizotypal individuals tended to have more initial fixations to the left stimulus field relative to the low schizotypy group. The current study has important implications for better understanding of emotion recognition in schizotypy as a feature of the schizophrenic spectrum. Also, the current study provided suggestions for further study to develop knowledge in schizotypy using a combination of eye-tracker and emotion recognition tasks. Characterizing eye movement abnormalities in schizotypy and their relationship to emotional face processing deficits may contribute to the ability of facial affect recognition through the development of training programs that introduce strategies for visual scanning to improve facial affect recognition and social effectiveness.



schizophrenia, college students, facial expression, eye movements


Tsutsui, S. (2010). Facial affect recognition and eye movements in schizotypal college students (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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