Facial Expressivity in Non-Clinical Psychosi

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Research has found that both schizophrenia populations and populations at clinical high risk for psychosis show alterations in facial affect expressivity, specifically blunting. However, it is unknown whether these alterations occur prior to onset, or whether they develop as a consequence of psychosis onset processes. The current study sought to examine a non-clinical psychosis (NCP) population, defined as those who experience infrequent and fleeting positive symptoms 1-2 times per year, to determine where along the psychosis continuum these facial expressivity alterations occur. In the current study, a total of 25 participants, 11 NCP and 14 control, completed the “B” module from the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-B). One-minute clips from each video were processed by iMotions, a computerized automated software that detects for the presence of six facial expressions (joy, anger, contempt, fear, surprise, and sadness). Additionally, the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) and the Response to Positive Affect (RPA), were given to participants to assess for potential correlations between facial expressions and emotion regulation strategies. Results, though non-significant, hint that NCP groups may experience differences in facial affect expressions compared to controls, with the NCP group showing increased facial expressivity overall, and specifically joy expressions. Furthermore, in the NCP group, increased contempt expressions were associated with increased cognitive reappraisal, and decreased dampening. These findings, though contrary to what was expected given evidence from CHR populations, may provide preliminary evidence for links between facial affect expressions and emotional regulation strategies in NCP populations.

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  • 06/04/2019
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