Synchrony in First Episode Schizophrenia

Proposal details

Title: Synchrony in First Episode Schizophrenia
Research Area(s): Schizophrenia and Allied Psychoses
Background: This paper proposal is affiliated with my Pfizer fellowship project. We have previously demonstrated disturbances in peak synchrony in first episode schizophrenia (eg Symond et al. 2005, Am. J Psychiatry). Here, we propose an investigation of whether biologically significant stimuli (namely, facial emotions) elicit even more marked disturbances in Gamma synchrony. Given that impairments in social cognition add uniquely to the prediction of functional outcome in schizophrenia, we would also examine whether disturbances in emotion-elicited synchrony are associated with social cognitive deficits.
Aims: 1. Gamma synchrony to facial emotion will be disturbed in first episode schizophrenia, particularly over frontal and temporal regions. 2. These disturbances will predict severity of real-world functional indicators, such as social functioning, quality of life and related negative symptoms.
Method: In 28 first-episode schizophrenia (FES) patients, and matched healthy controls, EEG recordings were undertaken during perception of facial emotion under both conscious and nonconscious conditions. Gamma-band synchrony was extracted from the EEG. Behavioral measures of emotion identification, emotional intelligence, negativity bias and social functioning were also employed, along with FES symptom ratings. Analysis of group differences, and prediction of social cognition, took account of the potential contribution of medication. Measures Gamma synchrony elicited by fear, happy and neutral facial emotions in both conscious and nonconscious conditions. Emotion recognition data (where available) Clinical information (on social functioning, quality of life, symptoms).