Deficits in facial affect recognition in unaffected siblings of Xhosa schizophrenia patients: Evidence for a neurocognitive endophenotype

Leppanen J.M. ; Niehaus D.J.H. ; Koen L. ; Du Toit E. ; Schoeman R. ; Emsley R. (2008)

Abstract

The present study in an African Xhosa sample examined whether familial vulnerability to schizophrenia is associated with deficits in facial affect recognition. Healthy comparison subjects, unaffected siblings of schizophrenia patients, and schizophrenia patients were tested with a task requiring rapid recognition of matched positive (happy), negative (angry), and neutral facial expressions. Siblings and patients demonstrated impaired recognition of negative relative to positive facial expressions whereas comparison subjects recognized negative and positive expressions at an equal level of accuracy. These results suggest that deficits in the processing negative affect from social cues are transmitted in families and may represent a heritable endophenotype of schizophrenia. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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