Distinct facial processing in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders.
Although schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders have both similar and differing clinical features, it is not well understood whether similar or differing pathophysiological processes mediate patients' cognitive functions. Using psychophysical methods, this study compared the performances of schizophrenia (SZ) patients, patients with schizoaffective disorder (SA), and a healthy control group in two face-related cognitive tasks: emotion discrimination, which tested perception of facial affect, and identity discrimination, which tested perception of non-affective facial features. Compared to healthy controls, SZ patients, but not SA patients, exhibited deficient performance in both fear and happiness discrimination, as well as identity discrimination. SZ patients, but not SA patients, also showed impaired performance in a theory-of-mind task for which emotional expressions are identified based upon the eye regions of face images. This pattern of results suggests distinct processing of face information in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.