Psychiatry Res 2011 Feb 21;185(3):315-20. Epub 2010 May 21.
Department of Psychiatry, Université catholique de Louvain, UCL, 1200 Brussels, Belgium.
The nature of the impairment in the processing of emotional information in schizophrenia is still being debated. Some authors reported that schizophrenia patients would show deficits in the treatment processing of negative emotional information without a negative bias, as observed in controls, when in a combined emotional situation including positive/negative information. Eighteen subjects with paranoid schizophrenia in remission with a low level of negative symptoms and 18 control subjects were exposed to 108 pairs of pictures (International Affective Picture System) depicting different emotions (N = negative, P = positive, n = neutral) from six different combinations: N/N, P/P, n/n, P/N, P/n, and N/n. The subjects responded by clicking on a right or left button in response to a negative or positive feeling toward the stimuli (forced choice task). They were also asked to classify each of the individual pictures as positive, negative, or neutral (emotion-recognition task). In this well-defined group of paranoid schizophrenia patients in remission, we observed the persistence of a negative bias when an ambiguous situation is displayed (P/N) with the absence of an impairment in negative emotional information recognition and the presence of a positive bias in the recognition of neutral stimuli, reflecting a tendency to keep arousal-provoking perceptual cues from entering into subjective awareness.