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Title page for ETD etd-11182016-075016

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Peterman, Joel Stephen
URN etd-11182016-075016
Title Inter- and Intrapersonal Body Perception in Schizophrenia
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Sohee Park Committee Chair
Andrew Tomarken Committee Member
David Zald Committee Member
Nilanjan Sarkar Committee Member
  • Schizophrenia
  • emotion recognition
  • embodiment
Date of Defense 2016-08-16
Availability unrestricted
Individuals with schizophrenia consistently display social functioning deficits with underlying emotion recognition impairments. Simulation of other’s emotional expressions facilitates recognition. Emotional states are comprised of phenomenological, physiological, and expressive components working in a coordinated manner; and perception of another’s emotional expression activates the motor, somatic, and cognitive states associated with the expression, aiding the perceiver in recognizing the other’s emotional state. A series of studies was conducted to investigate emotion recognition deficits in patients with schizophrenia and demographically matched controls from an embodied perspective. Inpatients with schizophrenia displayed significant socio-emotional recognition deficits compared to controls, and failed to utilize socially relevant information (e.g. emotional state) when making social trait judgments. Outpatients exhibited poorer recognition accuracy on a dynamic emotional gait perception task despite their intact visual scanning behavior. Although normal scanning behavior in outpatients suggests attentional benefits of dynamic cues inherent in gait stimuli, attending to the salient aspects of an emotional expression did not automatically confer recognition. Outpatients also displayed altered responses to social and non-social emotional scenes compared to controls. Physiological arousal and facial musculature associated with negative emotional states were increased irrespective of the emotional valence of the scene. This suggests significant aberrations in the multi-faceted emotional experiences in schizophrenia. Finally, simulation and embodiment of emotions were indirectly assessed through the measurement of facial musculature activity during viewing of dynamic facial emotional expressions. Counter to expectations, both controls and outpatients displayed similar facial musculature activity irrespective of the emotion expressed by the face stimulus. In one condition, outpatients showed greater facial musculature activity than controls regardless of the expression. Taken together, these studies point to a breakdown in the simulation of emotional states in others, possibly due to a less sensitivity when distinguishing internal emotional states. With more “noise” in this system, individuals with schizophrenia must rely on more frontally-mediated abilities to understand other’s emotional states. Such a conceptualization provides an opportunity for new treatments of this intractable disorder.

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