Bipolar and Schizophrenia Share Some Cognitive Processing Deficits

Being able to accurately identify and process the emotions of others is critical to effective and harmonious social functioning. Interacting with others is based largely on perception and interpretation of another person’s emotional state and affect. Impairment in this area can lead to misinterpreted emotions and conflict. People with schizophrenia have been shown to have clear cognitive deficits with respect to emotional perception. Individuals with bipolar share many of the genetic and environmental risk factors as those with schizophrenia, yet it is unclear whether or not they share the same functional impairments.

To explore this further, Jonathan K. Wynn of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System in California recently conducted a study involving 30 individuals with schizophrenia, 57 with bipolar, and 30 with no history of any mental health problem. Approximately half of the participants with bipolar were on antipsychotic medication at the time of the study. Wynn exposed the participants to pictures of faces depicting emotions of fear, sadness, happiness, anger, or disgust. He then had had them look at neutral facial expressions. They were instructed to identify the emotion on the first experiment and the gender of the face on the second experiment.

The results revealed that the participants with schizophrenia had the most difficulty accurately identifying the facial expressions. The participants with bipolar identified the emotions more accurately, but took much longer to do so. And when they did, their results were still significantly lower than the control group’s results. When he assessed gender recognition abilities, Wynn found again that both bipolar and schizophrenic participants had deficits in recognizing facial gender. These results were similar for both the bipolar participants who were taking medication and those who were not. “Schizophrenia patients show deficits at multiple stages of facial affect processing whereas the deficits in bipolar disorder seem to be less severe and appear at the later stage of affect decoding,” said Wynn. Despite those differences, these findings clearly show that people with bipolar can face challenges in social settings due to delays and impairments in cognitive processing.

Reference:
J, K. Wynn, et al. Event-related potential examination of facial affect processing in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Psychological Medicine 43.1 (2013): 109-17. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 30 Jan. 2013.

© Copyright 2013 by www.GoodTherapy.org - All Rights Reserved.

The preceding article summarizes research or news from periodicals or related source material in the fields of mental health and psychology. GoodTherapy.org did not participate in or condone any studies, or conclucions thereof, that may have been cited. Any views or opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org.

  • 2 comments
  • Leave a Comment
  • STanlEY

    February 8th, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Yes the bipolar patients did experience some difficulty, but their illness is manageable in a way that a patient with schizophrenia would never know.

  • Bret

    February 9th, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    It’s understood that the severity would be more in people with schizophrenia..but does this similarity mean anything?could the same methods be employed in treatment..?also,in what other ways does this finding build relationship between bipolar and schizophrenia?would it help in treatment of either or both ?

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.

2 Z k A

 

All fields are required.

Advanced Search
Sotry Image

Do you have a mental health story or experience that you wish to share? Whether your story is about therapy or psychiatry, self-help, personal healing, wellness, or a particular mental health condition or challenge, please consider contributing your written story to GoodTherapy.org!

Share Today

Recent Comments

  • Rachel: The tendency of sociopaths to be attracted to violent professions like the military is part of the problem with sociopaths, not something...
  • randy r.: Guys I’ve never felt what u guys went through…I sometimes have nightmare whereby my dad is dead and I get very scary only to...
  • janeen: The new site looks awesome!! Love it.
  • Ann: Andrew, I’m in Syracuse. I’ve been curious/interested in doing this for years but haven’t seriously pursued it. I’m a...
  • Jackie J.: I was tramatized as a kid, but didn’t really know that. I spent my nights having reoccurring dream about being chased by a monster...
GoodTherapy.org is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on GoodTherapy.org.