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      Virtual Avatar for Emotion Recognition in Patients with Schizophrenia: A Pilot Study

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          Persons who suffer from schizophrenia have difficulties in recognizing emotions in others’ facial expressions, which affects their capabilities for social interaction and hinders their social integration. Photographic images have traditionally been used to explore emotion recognition impairments in schizophrenia patients, but they lack of the dynamism that is inherent to facial expressiveness. In order to overcome those inconveniences, over the last years different authors have proposed the use of virtual avatars. In this work, we present the results of a pilot study that explored the possibilities of using a realistic-looking avatar for the assessment of emotion recognition deficits in patients who suffer from schizophrenia. In the study, 20 subjects with schizophrenia of long evolution and 20 control subjects were invited to recognize a set of facial expressions of emotions showed by both the said virtual avatar and static images. Our results show that schizophrenic patients exhibit recognition deficits in emotion recognition from facial expressions regardless the type of stimuli (avatar or images), and that those deficits are related with the psychopathology. Finally, some improvements in recognition rates (RRs) for the patient group when using the avatar were observed for sadness or surprise expressions, and they even outperform the control group in the recognition of the happiness expression. This leads to conclude that, apart from the dynamism of the shown expression, the RRs for schizophrenia patients when employing animated avatars may depend on other factors which need to be further explored.

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          Most cited references 39

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          The variable results of positive-negative research with schizophrenics underscore the importance of well-characterized, standardized measurement techniques. We report on the development and initial standardization of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) for typological and dimensional assessment. Based on two established psychiatric rating systems, the 30-item PANSS was conceived as an operationalized, drug-sensitive instrument that provides balanced representation of positive and negative symptoms and gauges their relationship to one another and to global psychopathology. It thus constitutes four scales measuring positive and negative syndromes, their differential, and general severity of illness. Study of 101 schizophrenics found the four scales to be normally distributed and supported their reliability and stability. Positive and negative scores were inversely correlated once their common association with general psychopathology was extracted, suggesting that they represent mutually exclusive constructs. Review of five studies involving the PANSS provided evidence of its criterion-related validity with antecedent, genealogical, and concurrent measures, its predictive validity, its drug sensitivity, and its utility for both typological and dimensional assessment.
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            There has been a surge of interest in the functional consequences of neurocognitive deficits in schizophrenia. The published literature in this area has doubled in the last few years. In this paper, we will attempt to confirm the conclusions from a previous review that certain neurocognitive domains (secondary verbal memory, immediate memory, executive functioning as measured by card sorting, and vigilance) are associated with functional outcome. In addition to surveying the number of replicated findings and tallying box scores of results, we will approach the review of the studies in a more thorough and empirical manner by applying a meta-analysis. Lastly, we will discuss what we see as a key limitation of this literature, specifically, the relatively narrow selection of predictor measures. This limitation has constrained identification of mediating variables that may explain the mechanisms for these relationships.
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              Effects of gaze on amygdala sensitivity to anger and fear faces.


                Author and article information

                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front. Hum. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                26 August 2016
                : 10
                1Cartif Foundation, Parque Tecnológico de Boecillo Valladolid, Spain
                2Research Unit, Hermanas Hospitalarias Centro Sociosanitario Palencia Palencia, Spain
                3ITAP-DISA, University of Valladolid Valladolid, Spain
                Author notes

                Edited by: Mikhail Lebedev, Duke University, USA

                Reviewed by: Pablo Billeke, Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile; Ferran Argelaguet, Inria, France

                *Correspondence: Samuel Marcos-Pablos sammar@ 123456cartif.es
                Copyright © 2016 Marcos-Pablos, González-Pablos, Martín-Lorenzo, Flores, Gómez-García-Bermejo and Zalama.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution and reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 4, Equations: 0, References: 55, Pages: 12, Words: 7666
                Clinical Trial


                schizophrenia, facial recognition of emotions, realistic virtual avatar


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