A prominent emotional disturbance in schizophrenia is clinically evident in blunted affect, often observed as reduced emotional expressivity alongside the individual's report of normal or heightened emotional experience. It has been suggested that this disjunction between the experience and expression of emotion may reflect problems with the regulation of emotional expression. The present study thus set out to examine the capacity to engage in particular emotion regulatory strategies, and specifically, the ability to amplify the emotional expression of an experienced emotion ('amplification') or suppress the emotional expression of an experienced emotion ('suppression') whilst watching film clips selected to elicit amusement. Twenty nine participants with schizophrenia and 30 demographically matched non-clinical controls were asked to watch three different amusing film clips, whilst engaging in different regulatory strategies. The results indicate that participants with schizophrenia have difficulties with the amplification (but not suppression) of emotion expressive behavior. These difficulties are significantly correlated with total negative symptoms experienced, particularly emotional blunting.
- Emotion regulation emotional blunting
- Emotional expression