Social cognition is essential for functional outcome and quality of life in psychiatric patients. Facial affect recognition (FAR), a domain of social cognition, is impaired in many patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. There is evidence that abnormal visual scanpath patterns may underlie FAR deficits, and metacognitive factors may impact task performance. The present study aimed to develop a brief, individually-administered, computerized training program to normalize scanpath patterns in order to improve FAR in patient with a psychosis history or bipolar I disorder. The program was developed using scanpath data from 19 nonpsychiatric controls (NC) while they completed a FAR tasks that involved identification of mild or extreme intensity happy, sad, angry, and fearful faces, and a neutral expression. Patients were randomized to a waitlist (WG; n = 16) or training group (TG; n = 18). Both patient groups completed a baseline FAR task (T0), the training (or a repeated FAR task as a control for WG; T1), and a post-training FAR task (T2). Patients evaluated their own performance and eyetracking data were recorded. Results indicated that the patient groups did not differ from NC on FAR performance, metacognitive accuracy, or scanpath patterns at T0. TG was compliant with the training program and showed changes in scanpath patterns during T1, but returned to baseline scanpath patterns at T2. WG and TG did not differ at T2 on FAR performance, metacognitive accuracy, or scanpath patterns. Across both patient groups, FAR performance for mild intensity emotions were more sensitive to the effect of time than for extreme intensity emotions. Exploratory analysis showed that at baseline, greater severity of negative symptoms was associated with poorer metacognitive accuracy (i.e., accuracy in their evaluation of their performance). Limitations to the study and future directions are discussed.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Clinical Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Chan, Chi, "Visual Scanpath Training for Facial Affect Recognition in a Psychiatric Sample" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5218.