/   Home   /   Newsroom   /   Research News

Altered Functional Connectivity is Observed in Individuals with Negative Schizotypy During Facial Emotion Processing

Apr 18, 2018     Email"> PrintText Size

Compared to neurocognition, social cognition refers to higher-level psychological process during social interaction. In 2008, NIMH workshop was held and researchers have summarized five areas of social cognition in schizophrenia, including theory of mind, social perception, social knowledge, attribution bias and emotional processing.

Impairment in facial emotion perception is an important domain of social cognition deficits in schizophrenia. Although impaired facial emotion perception has been found in schizophrenia spectrum disorders, little is known about if there is any corresponding change in brain functional connectivity. 

To address this unresolved issue, Drs. WANG Yi and Raymond Chan from the Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience (NACN) Laboratory, Institute of Psychology, together with their international collaborators, have conducted a study to examine the changes of individuals with high levels of negative schizotypal traits in both brain activity and functional connectivity during a facial emotion valence discrimination fMRI task. 

34 individuals with high level of negative schizotypy and thirty individuals with low level negative schizotypy were recruited in this study. The Chapman scales for physical and social anhedonia were used to calculate the total score of negative schizotypy. All participants undertook a facial emotion discrimination functional imaging task that consisted of four emotional valences (angry, fear, happy, and neutral).

First, the signal change at the bilateral amygdala was extracted and compared for each emotional contrast. Second, the beta-series functional connectivity of the bilateral amygdala with the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) was calculated and compared between groups. Reduced brain activations at the amygdala under fearful and neutral conditions was observed in high negative schizotypy group.

In addition, reduced functional connectivity between the amygdala and the mPFC/dorsal anterior cingulate cortex under the happy and fearful conditions in the high NS group was also found. 

Their findings demonstrated that the individuals with high NS have already exhibited altered brain activity and functional connectivity at the amygdala during facial emotion processing and provide new evidence for understanding social cognition deficits in at-risk individuals. 

This study is now available online in Schizophrenia Bulletin entitled "Negative Schizotypy and Altered Functional Connectivity During Facial Emotion Processing".

This study was supported by the Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission Grant; National Key Research and Development Programme; the Beijing Training Project for Leading Talents in S&T; the CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, and the CAS/SAFEA International Partnership Programme for Creative Research Teams; National Science Fund China; China Scholarship Council. 

facial emotion processing (Image by  Raymond Chan)


(Editor: ZHANG Nannan)


Raymond Chan

Institute of Psychology

E-mail: rckchan@psych.ac.cn

Related Articles

schizotypy;developmental trajectories;psychosis;mental illness;schizotypy traits

Scientists Identify Four Distinct Developmental Trajectories for Individuals

Aug 07, 2017

Drs. Raymond Chan, WANG Yi, SHI Haisong, LIU Wenhua and the team of the Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience (NACN) Laboratory, CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, and international collaborators have conducted a...

schizotypal traits;schizotypy;functional connectivity;asymmetry pattern;schizophrenia

Schizotypal Traits: Associated with Striato-cortical Functional Connectivity and Manifested in an Asymmetry Pattern

Oct 24, 2017

Drs. WANG Yi and Raymond Chan from the Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience (NACN) Laboratory and the CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences have previously shown that individuals with sc...


Parahippocampus Mediates Association Between Olfactory Identification and Anhedonia in Individuals with Schizotypy

Dec 09, 2015

Dr. CHAN Raymond and his team from Institute of Psychology of Chinese Academy of Sciences have conducted a study to explore the correlations between olfactory function and hedonic traits in individuals with schizotypy. They have identified a group of 1...

Contact Us

Copyright © 2002 - Chinese Academy of Sciences