To investigate the nature of emotional experience in schizophrenia, we examined emotional responses to affective stimuli. Twenty-one outpatients with schizophrenia (9 paranoid, 12 nonparanoid) and 20 normal controls rated the arousal and valence that they experienced from the presentation of 60 pictures. Schizophrenia patients displayed less emotional responsivity to the positive stimuli and they displayed diverse responsivity to the negative stimuli, which depended upon arousal level. Further analysis, using schizophrenia subtype, indicated that nonparanoid patients reported increased negative responsivity and decreased positive responsivity, regardless of arousal level. However, paranoid schizophrenia patients showed enhanced self-reported experiences of emotion to the low arousing stimuli and diminished responsivity to the high arousing stimuli. This pattern was robust to the negative stimuli. These findings suggest that paranoid schizophrenia patients might suffer from aberrantly flattened responses to negative emotional stimuli, and that this may account for paranoid tendency and secondary social isolation in paranoid schizophrenia.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The present study was supported by a grant from the Korea Health 21 R&D Project, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (03-PJ1-PG3-20500-0048).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry