Neurophysiological impairment in emotional face processing is associated with low extraversion in schizophrenia

Kenji Kirihara, Kiyoto Kasai, Mariko Tada, Tatsuya Nagai, Yuki Kawakubo, Syudo Yamasaki, Toshiaki Onitsuka, Tsuyoshi Araki

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Patients with schizophrenia have low extraversion and high neuroticism. These personality traits affect the everyday life of patients with schizophrenia, making it important to investigate neurobiological basis of personality traits. In healthy people, extraversion is associated with hemodynamic responses in the amygdala and electrophysiological brain activity such as event-related potential and event-related desynchronization during emotional face processing. Patients with schizophrenia show abnormal neural activity during emotional face processing, such as an N170 amplitude reduction. However, few studies to date have reported an association between personality traits and neural activity during emotional face processing in schizophrenia. In the present study, we examined N170 during emotional face processing, and association with personality traits in patients with schizophrenia. Fifteen male patients with chronic schizophrenia and 15 healthy male subjects participated in this study. Patients with schizophrenia had reduced N170 amplitudes (p=0.007). While healthy subjects had increased N170 amplitudes in response to emotional faces compared with neutral faces (p=0.003), patients with schizophrenia showed no difference in N170 amplitudes between emotional and neutral faces (p=0.60). Reduced N170 amplitude in response to neutral faces was correlated with low extraversion scores in patients with schizophrenia (r s=-0.69, p=0.005). The abnormal N170 and its association with extraversion in schizophrenia were found at the right rather than the left posterior temporal electrode. An abnormal N170 in schizophrenia may reflect impairments in the structural encoding of emotional faces, and indiscrimination between emotional and neutral faces at this stage of information processing. The association between abnormal N170 amplitudes and extraversion suggests that abnormal neural activity in the early stages of emotional face processing may underlie low extraversion characteristic of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-275
Number of pages6
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Biological Psychiatry


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