Patients with schizophrenia (PwS) typically demonstrate deficits in visual processing of emotions. Less is known about auditory processing of spoken-emotions, as conveyed by the prosodic (tone) and semantics (words) channels. In a previous study, forensic PwS (who committed violent offenses) identified spoken-emotions and integrated the emotional information from both channels similarly to controls. However, their performance indicated larger failures of selective-attention, and lower discrimination between spoken-emotions, than controls. Given that forensic schizophrenia represents a special subgroup, the current study compared forensic and non-forensic PwS. Forty-five PwS listened to sentences conveying four basic emotions presented in semantic or prosodic channels, in different combinations. They were asked to rate how much they agreed that the sentences conveyed a predefined emotion, focusing on one channel or on the sentence as a whole. Their performance was compared to that of 21 forensic PwS (previous study). The two groups did not differ in selective-attention. However, better emotional identification and discrimination, as well as better channel integration were found for the forensic PwS. Results have several clinical implications: difficulties in spoken-emotions processing might not necessarily relate to schizophrenia; attentional deficits might not be a risk factor for aggression in schizophrenia; and forensic schizophrenia might have unique characteristics as related to spoken-emotions processing (motivation, stimulation).
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Copyright © 2022 Leshem, Icht and Ben-David.
- forensic psychiatry
- processing of emotions
- selective attention
- speech processing