In the identification of facial expressions related to certain emotions, certain parameters of event-related potentials (ERPs) can be interpreted as the respective indices. Patients with schizophrenia exhibit deficits in facial affect recognition at both behavioral and neural levels. We examined face expressionsensitive ERP components, N170 and N250, which are mostly related to encoding and decoding of the facial emotions, respectively, in 10 patients with schizophrenia and 10 healthy adults matched in age and gender. The mean amplitude and peak latency of the N170 and N250 waveforms, induced by visual stimuli in the form of happy, sad, fearful, and neutral face images, were measured and compared in these two groups. In the patient group, the mean amplitude of the N250 was higher in the right hemisphere (–1.402 mV on average) compared to that in the left hemisphere (–0.814 mV). The independent-sample t-test revealed that the N250 latencies were significantly longer in the patient group compared to those in the normal group for all four emotions. We, however, find no significant differences in the mean amplitude and peak latency of the N170 waveform between the two groups. Our study shows that decoding of the facial expressions in patients with schizophrenia is clearly impaired, which may contribute to cognitive and behavioral symptoms of the disease.
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