Social and Emotional Experiences in Schizophrenia
Bodapati, Anjuli S.
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The present study examined factors relating to momentary emotional response (i.e., arousal and valence ratings of affective stimuli) in 38 individuals with schizophrenia (SZ) and 53 healthy individuals (HC). Participants completed an affective picture stimuli ratings task to assess in-the-moment positive, negative, and neutral emotional experiences, and the factors examined were social (human) content and symptom presentation. The results indicated that slides with social content were rated as more arousing and more negative than slides without social content, by all participants, but that SZ rated slides as more arousing than HC. Further, within negative stimuli, HC were more aroused by social than nonsocial slides, whereas SZ displayed the opposite pattern. Also within negative stimuli, SZ with high negative symptoms (SHNS) rated social stimuli as less arousing than SZ with low negative symptoms (SLNS), but SHNS and SLNS did not differ in their arousal ratings of nonsocial stimuli. These findings exhibit a heightened level of arousal in schizophrenia, which is dampened by negative symptom severity, but only for negative slides with social content. This suggests that social content and symptom presentation may indeed play a role in momentary emotional experiences in schizophrenia.