Relation Between Facial Affect Recognition and Configural Face Processing in Antipsychotic-Free Schizophrenia


  • Fakra Eric
  • Jouve Elisabeth
  • Guillaume Fabrice
  • Azorin Jean-Michel
  • Blin Olivier

document type



Objective: Deficit in facial affect recognition is a well-documented impairment in schizophrenia, closely connected to social outcome. This deficit could be related to psychopathology, but also to a broader dysfunction in processing facial information. In addition, patients with schizophrenia inadequately use configural information-a type of processing that relies on spatial relationships between facial features. To date, no study has specifically examined the link between symptoms and misuse of configural information in the deficit in facial affect recognition. Method: Unmedicated schizophrenia patients (n = 30) and matched healthy controls (n = 30) performed a facial affect recognition task and a face inversion task, which tests aptitude to rely on configural information. In patients, regressions were carried out between facial affect recognition, symptom dimensions and inversion effect. Results: Patients, compared with controls, showed a deficit in facial affect recognition and a lower inversion effect. Negative symptoms and lower inversion effect could account for 41.2% of the variance in facial affect recognition. Conclusion: This study confirms the presence of a deficit in facial affect recognition, and also of dysfunctional manipulation in configural information in antipsychotic-free patients. Negative symptoms and poor processing of configural information explained a substantial part of the deficient recognition of facial affect. We speculate that this deficit may be caused by several factors, among which independently stand psychopathology and failure in correctly manipulating configural information.

more information