Award Date

December 2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Daniel Allen

Second Committee Member

Stephen Benning

Third Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Fourth Committee Member

Joel Snyder

Number of Pages

69

Abstract

Schizophrenia (SZ) is a debilitating illness characterized by a number of perceptual and

cognitive deficits. Deficits in emotional judgment and perception are consistently identified, although less is known about the integration of emotional information from separate sensory modalities. This study investigates the integration of auditory and visual emotional information in schizophrenia and healthy controls through application of an emotion judgment task modeled after the McGurk effect. The emotional judgments of 54 participants (40 SZ and 14 control participants from the community) for auditory, visual, and bimodal phonemic stimuli conveying no lexical information were analyzed. Visual and auditory stimuli conveying joy or sadness were presented either alone, in congruent audiovisual form (e.g., joyous audio/joyous video), or as incongruent audiovisual (e.g., joyous video/sad audio) stimuli. It was hypothesized that for incongruent bimodal stimuli, controls would demonstrate a predictable shift into an emotional category that represented neither of the original emotional expressions, and that persons with schizophrenia would perform more poorly on this task, most notably for auditory productions of sadness. Results indicate that persons with schizophrenia are worse than controls at accurately judging auditory sadness, and that when presented with incongruent stimuli they judge the emotion presented by the visual signal more frequently than control participants. These results shed light on observed deficits in social and emotional judgments in schizophrenia, most notably those requiring integration of sensory information.

Keywords

Emotion; Schizophrenia

Disciplines

Clinical Psychology | Psychology

Language

English


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