Patients with schizophrenia suffer from impairments in facial affect recognition and social functioning. Since antipsychotic medication affects different areas in the brain, they may also affect target areas involved in emotional processing mechanisms. In this article, we review the findings of the effect of antipsychotic medication on facial affect recognition in schizophrenia. We searched PubMed for articles in English with the keywords schizophrenia, facial, affect, emotion, antipsychotic and medication, published till January 2008. Eight relevant articles were found describing original studies. No substantial improvements in facial affect recognition were found after treatment with either typical or atypical antipsychotic drugs. Facial affect recognition was not related to neuropsychological functioning, and it was unclear whether improvement of symptom severity was related to performance on the facial affect recognition tasks. It is recommended that future research should focus on measuring social skills and social functioning more directly, and by investigating the effects of additional behavioural treatments on facial affect recognition and social functioning relative to treatment with antipsychotic medication alone.

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Psychiatry Research
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Hempel, R., Dekker, J., van Beveren, N., Tulen, J., & Hengeveld, M. (2010). The effect of antipsychotic medication on facial affect recognition in schizophrenia: A review. Psychiatry Research (Vol. 178, pp. 1–9). doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2008.07.025