Face recognition in schizophrenia: do individual and average ROCs tell the same story?


  • Tiberghien Guy
  • Martin Clara
  • Baudouin Jean-Yves
  • Franck Nicolas
  • Guillaume Fabrice
  • Huron Caroline


  • ROC
  • Familiarity
  • Schizophrenia
  • Face recognition
  • Recollection

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Introduction. Many studies have shown that recollection process is impaired in patients with schizophrenia, whereas familiarity is generally spared. However, in these studies, the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) presented is average ROC likely to mask individual differences. Methods. In the present study using a face-recognition task, we computed the individual ROC of patients with schizophrenia and control participants. Each group was divided into two subgroups on the basis of the type of recognition processes implemented: recognition based on familiarity only and recognition based on familiarity and recollection. Results. The recognition performance of the schizophrenia patients was below that of the control participants only when recognition was based solely on familiarity. For the familiarity-alone patients, the score obtained on the Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS) was correlated with the variance of the old-face familiarity. For the familiarity-recollection patients, the score obtained on the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS) was correlated with the decision criterion and with the old-face recollection probability. Conclusions. These results show that one cannot ascribe the impaired recognition observed in patients with schizophrenia to a recollection deficit alone. These results show that individual ROC can be used to distinguish between subtypes of schizophrenia and could serve as a basis for setting up specific cognitive remediation therapy for individuals with schizophrenia.

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