It is well established that schizophrenia is associated with difficulties recognising facial expressions of emotion. It has been suggested that this impairment could be specific to moving faces [Archer, J., Hay, D., Young, A., 1994. Movement, face processing and schizophrenia: evidence of a differential deficit in expression analysis. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 33, 517-528]. The current study used point-light images to assess whether people with schizophrenia can interpret emotions from isolated patterns of facial movement in the absence of featural cues. Emotion recognition from moving and static images was assessed using a forced choice design with two sets of three emotions (anger, sadness and surprise; disgust, fear and happiness). The schizophrenia group was significantly better at recognising the emotions from moving images than static images. Although the control group was more accurate overall than the schizophrenia group, both groups presented the same characteristic patterns of performance across tasks. For example, in terms of which emotions were better recognised than others and the types of misidentifications that were made. Hence, it is concluded that people with schizophrenia are sensitive to the motion patterns which underlie individual expressions of emotion and can use this information to accurately recognise emotions.
- motion perception
- facial expression