Emotion perception in schizophrenia: An eye movement study comparing the effectiveness of risperidone vs. haloperidol

Leanne M. Williams*, Carmel M. Loughland, Melissa J. Green, Anthony W F Harris, Evian Gordon

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    69 Citations (Scopus)


    We used a psychophysiological marker of visual attention (the visual scanpath) to investigate the effects of atypical (risperidone) vs. typical (haloperidol) antipsychotic medication on facial emotion perception in schizophrenia (n=28) and healthy control (n=28) groups. Of the schizophrenia subjects, 15 were prescribed risperidone. Visual scanpaths to 'happy', 'sad' and 'neutral' faces were recorded using video-oculography, and concurrent emotion-recognition accuracy was assessed using multiple-option tasks. Compared to control subjects, both schizophrenia subgroups showed a restriction in visual scanning (reduced total fixation number and decreased scanpath length). Haloperidol-treated schizophrenia subjects exhibited an additional and consistent pattern of reduced attention (fixation) to salient features for neutral and happy. By contrast, risperidone-treated subjects showed a relatively greater attention to salient features for these expressions, in which they did not differ from controls. Recognition accuracy for happy and neutral showed a similar lack of impairment. These findings suggest that risperidone may play a specific role in schizophrenia in the ability to attend to salient features, and to integrate this information into an accurate percept for neutral and positive expressions in particular.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)13-27
    Number of pages15
    JournalPsychiatry Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2003


    • Eye movements
    • Facial emotion
    • Haloperidol
    • Risperidone
    • Schizophrenia
    • Visual scanpath


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