Visual perception of facial expressions of emotions and alexithymia among people suffering from schizophrenia
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University of Szczecin
Submission date: 2022-10-08
Final revision date: 2023-06-27
Acceptance date: 2023-07-03
Online publication date: 2024-04-03
Publication date: 2024-04-01
Corresponding author
Dawid Subocz   

University of Szczecin
Arch Psych Psych 2024;26(1):16-25
Aim of the study:
The aim of the study is to find out whether there is a relationship between the severity of alexithymia and the visual perception of facial expressions of emotions among people suffering from schizophrenia.

Subject or material and methods:
41 people suffering from schizophrenia and 41 healthy people participated in the study. In the first stage, the subjects completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) questionnaire. The second stage was based on eye-tracking measurements made during a computer experiment of recognising facial expressions.

People with schizophrenia showed significantly higher intensity of alexithymia than healthy people. In the group of patients with schizophrenia, a negative correlation between alexithymia and the length of saccades on the nose was found.

In the group of people with schizophrenia, alexithymia is associated with less intensive exploration of the nasal area. A wrinkled nose is an important area, first of all, in the manifestation of negative emotions, in recognition of which the sick people make the most mistakes.

Problems with recognising emotions in people suffering from schizophrenia are associated with neuronal dysfunction and abnormalities in the eye movement. These factors disrupt the early stages of sensory processing. The relationship of alexithymia with the visual perception of patients with schizophrenia suggests that top-down processes may also contribute to the development of these deficits.

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