Shyness and emotional face processing in schizophrenia: An ERP study
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Shyness in healthy controls has been related to early event-related potential (ERP) responses to emotional faces. Patients with schizophrenia typically demonstrate increased shyness that is stable and related to reduced social functioning. We indexed early ERP responses to emotional faces in relation to shyness in 40 outpatients with schizophrenia and 39 healthy controls. Patients with low-to-medium shyness showed reductions in P100 amplitude to emotional compared to neutral faces as shyness increased. Patients reporting medium-to-high shyness demonstrated the opposite pattern; P100 amplitude sharply increased as shyness increased, possibly reflecting heightened vigilance. When a restricted range of shyness scores was used to equalize scores between groups, patients showed increased N170 amplitude to emotional faces as shyness increased, whereas controls demonstrated the opposite pattern. The implications of the findings are discussed with respect to informing vulnerability to social functioning impairment and psychosocial stress in this population.
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