Advertisement

Keep smiling!

Facial reactions to emotional stimuli and their relationship to emotional contagion in patients with schizophrenia
  • Irina Falkenberg
  • Mathias Bartels
  • Barbara Wild
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Introduction

Emotional contagion is a common phenomenon in verbal and nonverbal communication between individuals. Perception and mimicry of facial movements play an important role in this process. Several studies have demonstrated impaired facial expression recognition in patients with schizophrenia and differences in their facial behavior compared to healthy subjects, but so far, the relationship between facial mimicry and emotional contagion has not been studied in this group.

Methods

Seventeen schizophrenic patients and an equal number of matched healthy controls were presented with digital versions of happy, sad and neutral faces from the “Pictures of facial affect” (Ekman and Friesen, Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, 1976) and were asked to pull their lip corners up or down (like in smiling or showing a sad face) according to the direction of two arrows that were presented simultaneously. In healthy subjects, congruous movements (i.e. pulling the lip corners up when seeing a happy face or pulling them down when seeing a sad face) are facilitated and dissonant movements are inhibited; these tendencies were considered as indicators of emotional contagion.

Results

In schizophrenic patients, these tendencies were significantly diminished. The patients were more apt to display a smile as a reaction to a sad face. We found a positive correlation between these effects and the PANSS—Scores for General Psychopathology.

Discussion

Patients’ tendencies towards positive reactions even when a negative stimulus was presented could function as a protective mechanism against overwhelming emotional experiences.

Key words

social interaction nonverbal communication facial expression social cognition emotional expression 

References

  1. 1.
    Adolphs R (2002) Neural systems for recognizing emotion. Curr Opin Neurobiol 12(2):169–177PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Antonova E, Sharma T, Morris R, Kumari V (2004) The relationship between brain structure and neurocognition in schizophrenia: a selective review. Schizophr Res 70(2–3):117–145PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Archer J, Hay DC, Young AW (1992) Face processing in psychiatric conditions. Br J Clin Psychol 31(Pt 1):45–61PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Arnold SE (2000) Cellular and molecular neuropathology of the parahippocampal region in schizophrenia. Ann N Y Acad Sci 911:275–292PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Benson PJ, Perrett DI (1993) Extracting prototypical facial images from exemplars. Perception 22(3):257–262PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Berenbaum H, Oltmanns TF (1992) Emotional experience and expression in schizophrenia and depression. J Abnorm Psychol 101(1):37–44PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Borod JC, Martin CC, Alpert M, Brozgold A, Welkowitz J (1993) Perception of facial emotion in schizophrenic and right brain-damaged patients. J Nerv Ment Dis 181(8):494–502PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Brickenkamp R, Zillmer E (1998) The d2 test of attention. Hogrefe & Huber, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Brüderl R (2001) Die Wahrnehmung expressiv -emotionaler Mimik während der Depression. Psychologisches Institut der Eberhardt-Karls-Universität Tübingen. Ref Type: Thesis/DissertationGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cacioppo JT, Tassinary LG, Fridlund AF (1990) The skeletomotor system. In: Cacioppo JT, Tassinary LG eds. Principles of psychophysiology: physical, social, and inferential elements. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 325–384Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Calder AJ, Young AW, Rowland D, Perrett DI (1997) Computer-enhanced emotion in facial expressions. Proc Biol Sci 264(1383):919–925PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cramer P, Weegmann M, O’Neil M (1989) Schizophrenia and the perception of emotions. How accurately do schizophrenics judge the emotional states of others? Br J Psychiatry 155:225–228PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dapretto M, Davies MS, Pfeifer JH, Scott AA, Sigman M, Bookheimer SY, Iacoboni M (2006) Understanding emotions in others: mirror neuron dysfunction in children with autism spectrum disorders. Nat Neurosci 9(1):28–30PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Dilling H, Mombour W, Schmidt MH (2004) Internationale Klassifikation psychischer Störungen. ICD-10 Kapitel V (F). Klinisch-diagnostische Leitlinien. Verlag Hans Huber, BernGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Dimberg U (1982) Facial reactions to facial expressions. Psychophysiology 19(6):643–647PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Doherty RW (1997) The emotional contagion scale: a measure of individual differences. J Nonverbal Behav 21(2):131–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Duclos SE, Laird JD, Schneider E, Sexter M, Stern L, van Lighten O (1989) Emotion-specific effects of facial expressions and postures on emotional experience. J Pers Soc Psychol 57(1):100–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ekman P, Friesen WV (1976) Pictures of facial affect. Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo AltoGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Eysenck HJ (1970) The structure of human personality. Methuen, LondonGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Feinberg TE, Rifkin A, Schaffer C, Walker E (1986) Facial discrimination and emotional recognition in schizophrenia and affective disorders. Arch Gen Psychiatry 43(3):276–279PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gaebel W, Wolwer W (1992) Facial expression and emotional face recognition in schizophrenia and depression. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 242(1):46–52PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Guy W (1976) National Institute of Mental Health (ECDEU assessment manual for psychopharmacology. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, National Institute of Mental Health, Psychopharmacology Research Branch, Division of Extramural Research ProgramsGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hatfield E, Cacioppo JT, Rapson RL (1994) Emotional contagion (studies in emotion & social interaction). Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Heimann H, Spoerri T (1957) The expressive syndrome of mimic disintegration in chronic schizophrenics Schweiz Med Wochenschr 87(35–36):1126–1128PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kay SR, Fiszbein A, Opler LA (1987) The positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS) for schizophrenia. Schizophr Bull 13(2):261–276PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kerns JG, Cohen JD, MacDonald AW III, Johnson MK, Stenger VA, Aizenstein H, Carter CS (2005) Decreased conflict- and error-related activity in the anterior cingulate cortex in subjects with schizophrenia. Am J Psychiatry 162(10):1833–1839PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kerr SL, Neale JM (1993) Emotion perception in schizophrenia: specific deficit or further evidence of generalized poor performance? J Abnorm Psychol 102(2):312–318PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kohler CG, Bilker W, Hagendoorn M, Gur RE, Gur RC (2000) Emotion recognition deficit in schizophrenia: association with symptomatology and cognition. Biol Psychiatry 48(2):127–136PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Krieger H (2002) Aspekte nonverbaler Kommunikation: Latenzveränderung von Mundbewegungen durch emotionales Priming bei depressiven Patienten. 75. Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Psychologisches Institut. Ref Type: Thesis/DissertationGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Kring AM, Kerr SL, Smith DA, Neale JM (1993) Flat affect in schizophrenia does not reflect diminished subjective experience of emotion. J Abnorm Psychol 102(4):507–517PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Martin CC, Borod JC, Alpert M, Brozgold A, Welkowitz J (1990) Spontaneous expression of facial emotion in schizophrenic and right-brain-damaged patients. J Commun Disord 23(4–5):287–301PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Mattes RM, Schneider F, Heimann H, Birbaumer N (1995) Reduced emotional response of schizophrenic patients in remission during social interaction. Schizophr Res 17(3):249–255PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    McCarley RW, Wible CG, Frumin M, Hirayasu Y, Levitt JJ, Fischer IA, Shenton ME (1999) MRI anatomy of schizophrenia. Biol Psychiatry 45(9):1099–1119PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Morris JS, Friston KJ, Buchel C, Frith CD, Young AW, Calder AJ, Dolan RJ (1998) A neuromodulatory role for the human amygdala in processing emotional facial expressions. Brain 121(Pt 1):47–57PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Muzekari LH, Bates ME (1977) Judgment of emotion among chronic schizophrenics. J Clin Psychol 33(3):662–666PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Novic J, Luchins DJ, Perline R (1984) Facial affect recognition in schizophrenia. Is there a differential deficit? Br J Psychiatry 144:533–537PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Okugawa G, Tamagaki C, Agartz I (2007) Frontal and temporal volume size of grey and white matter in patients with schizophrenia: an MRI parcellation study. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 257(5):304–307PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Oldfield RC (1971) The assessment and analysis of handedness: the Edinburgh inventory. Neuropsychologia 9(1):97–113PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Perrett DI, May KA, Yoshikawa S (1994) Facial shape and judgements of female attractiveness. Nature 368(6468):239–242PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Pitman RK, Kolb B, Orr SP, Singh MM (1987) Ethological study of facial behavior in nonparanoid and paranoid schizophrenic patients. Am J Psychiatry 144(1):99–102PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Russell TA, Reynaud E, Kucharska-Pietura K, Ecker C, Benson PJ, Zelaya F, Giampietro V, Brammer M, David A, Phillips ML (2007) Neural responses to dynamic expressions of fear in schizophrenia. Neuropsychologia 45(1):107–123PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Schneider F, Ellgring H, Friedrich J, Fus I, Beyer T, Heimann H, Himer W (1992) The effects of neuroleptics on facial action in schizophrenic patients. Pharmacopsychiatry 25(5):233–239PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Schneider F, Heimann H, Himer W, Huss D, Mattes R, Adam B (1990) Computer-based analysis of facial action in schizophrenic and depressed patients. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 240(2):67–76PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Tremeau F, Malaspina D, Duval F, Correa H, Hager-Budny M, Coin-Bariou L, Macher JP, Gorman JM (2005) Facial expressiveness in patients with schizophrenia compared to depressed patients and nonpatient comparison subjects. Am J Psychiatry 162(1):92–101PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Walker E (1981) Emotion recognition in disturbed and normal children: a research note. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 22(3):263–268PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Walker E, Marwit SJ, Emory E (1980) A cross-sectional study of emotion recognition in schizophrenics. J Abnorm Psychol 89(3):428–436PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Walker EF, Grimes KE, Davis DM, Smith AJ (1993) Childhood precursors of schizophrenia: facial expressions of emotion. Am J Psychiatry 150(11):1654–1660PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Whalen PJ, Rauch SL, Etcoff NL, McInerney SC, Lee MB, Jenike MA (1998) Masked presentations of emotional facial expressions modulate amygdala activity without explicit knowledge. J Neurosci 18(1):411–418PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Wild B, Erb M, Bartels M (2001) Are emotions contagious? Evoked emotions while viewing emotionally expressive faces: quality, quantity, time course and gender differences. Psychiatry Res 102(2):109–124PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Wild B, Erb M, Eyb M, Bartels M, Grodd W (2003) Why are smiles contagious? An fMRI study of the interaction between perception of facial affect and facial movements. Psychiatry Res 123(1):17–36PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irina Falkenberg
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mathias Bartels
    • 1
  • Barbara Wild
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

Personalised recommendations