Mismatched Expressions Decrease Face Recognition and Corresponding ERP Old/New Effects in Schizophrenia


  • Guillaume Fabrice
  • Guillem François
  • Tiberghien Guy
  • Stip Emmanuel

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Objective: The objective was to investigate the electrophysiological (ERP) correlates of mismatched expression on face recognition in schizophrenia. Method: Expression-change effects and associated ERPs were explored in patients with schizophrenia (n = 20) and paired comparison participants (n = 20) on a long-term face-recognition task. Results: A facial-expression change decreased discriminability for patients with schizophrenia than for healthy participants. The patients' recognition deficit was accompanied by the absence of the midfrontal FN400 and late parietal ERP old/new effects in the mismatched-expression condition. By contrast, preserved midfrontal FN400 and late parietal ERP old/new effects were found in both groups in the unchanged-expression condition. Thus, the preserved parietal old/new effect previously observed in schizophrenia was no longer found here in the situation in which expression changes took place between the study and recognition phases. Conclusions: These findings suggest that, when they are not supposed to take the change of expression into account, the recognition deficit observed here in patients with schizophrenia resulted from an impairment in the mechanisms underlying the emergence, assessment, or utilization of familiarity-as indexed by the ERP old/new effects. In these natural conditions, the impact of the expression change on the implementation of retrieval processes offers new insight into schizophrenia-linked deficits in face recognition, with substantial phenomenological differences with respect to the emergence of familiarity.

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