Facial emotional recognition in schizophrenia: preliminary results of the virtual reality program for facial emotional recognition
Keywords:Virtual reality, 3D avatar facial emotion recognition, schizophrenia, qEEG, alpha frontal activity
AbstractBACKGROUND: Significant deficits in emotional recognition and social perception characterize patients with schizophrenia and have direct negative impact both in inter-personal relationships and in social functioning. Virtual reality, as a methodological resource, might have a high potential for assessment and training skills in people suffering from mental illness. OBJECTIVES: To present preliminary results of a facial emotional recognition assessment designed for patients with schizophrenia, using 3D avatars and virtual reality. METHODS: Presentation of 3D avatars which reproduce images developed with the FaceGen® software and integrated in a three-dimensional virtual environment. Each avatar was presented to a group of 12 patients with schizophrenia and a reference group of 12 subjects without psychiatric pathology. RESULTS: The results show that the facial emotions of happiness and anger are better recognized by both groups and that the major difficulties arise in fear and disgust recognition. Frontal alpha electroencephalography variations were found during the presentation of anger and disgust stimuli among patients with schizophrenia. DISCUSSION: The developed program evaluation module can be of surplus value both for patient and therapist, providing the task execution in a non anxiogenic environment, however similar to the actual experience.
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