Accurate perception of negative emotions predicts functional capacity in schizophrenia

Samantha V. Abram, Tatiana M. Karpouzian, James L. Reilly, Birgit Derntl, Ute Habel, Matthew J. Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Several studies suggest facial affect perception (FAP) deficits in schizophrenia are linked to poorer social functioning. However, whether reduced functioning is associated with inaccurate perception of specific emotional valence or a global FAP impairment remains unclear. The present study examined whether impairment in the perception of specific emotional valences (positive, negative) and neutrality were uniquely associated with social functioning, using a multimodal social functioning battery. A sample of 59 individuals with schizophrenia and 41 controls completed a computerized FAP task, and measures of functional capacity, social competence, and social attainment. Participants also underwent neuropsychological testing and symptom assessment. Regression analyses revealed that only accurately perceiving negative emotions explained significant variance (7.9%) in functional capacity after accounting for neurocognitive function and symptoms. Partial correlations indicated that accurately perceiving anger, in particular, was positively correlated with functional capacity. FAP for positive, negative, or neutral emotions were not related to social competence or social attainment. Our findings were consistent with prior literature suggesting negative emotions are related to functional capacity in schizophrenia. Furthermore, the observed relationship between perceiving anger and performance of everyday living skills is novel and warrants further exploration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-11
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 30 2014


  • Facial affect perception
  • Neurocognition
  • Social functioning
  • Symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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