Effects of facial emotion recognition remediation on visual scanning of novel face stimuli

Pamela J. Marsh*, Gemma Luckett, Tamara Russell, Max Coltheart, Melissa J. Green

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)


    Previous research shows that emotion recognition in schizophrenia can be improved with targeted remediation that draws attention to important facial features (eyes, nose, mouth). Moreover, the effects of training have been shown to last for up to one month after training. The aim of this study was to investigate whether improved emotion recognition of novel faces is associated with concomitant changes in visual scanning of these same novel facial expressions. Thirty-nine participants with schizophrenia received emotion recognition training using Ekman's Micro-Expression Training Tool (METT), with emotion recognition and visual scanpath (VSP) recordings to face stimuli collected simultaneously. Baseline ratings of interpersonal and cognitive functioning were also collected from all participants. Post-METT training, participants showed changes in foveal attention to the features of facial expressions of emotion not used in METT training, which were generally consistent with the information about important features from the METT. In particular, there were changes in how participants looked at the features of facial expressions of emotion surprise, disgust, fear, happiness, and neutral, demonstrating that improved emotion recognition is paralleled by changes in the way participants with schizophrenia viewed novel facial expressions of emotion. However, there were overall decreases in foveal attention to sad and neutral faces that indicate more intensive instruction might be needed for these faces during training. Most importantly, the evidence shows that participant gender may affect training outcomes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)234-240
    Number of pages7
    JournalSchizophrenia Research
    Issue number2-3
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


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