Neural Processing of Repeated Emotional Scenes in Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder

Rebekah L. Trotti, Sunny Abdelmageed, David A. Parker, Dean Sabatinelli, Carol A. Tamminga, Elliot S. Gershon, Sarah K. Keedy, Matcheri S. Keshavan, Godfrey D. Pearlson, John A. Sweeney, Jennifer E. McDowell, Brett A. Clementz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Impaired emotional processing and cognitive functioning are common in schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorders, causing significant socioemotional disability. While a large body of research demonstrates abnormal cognition/emotion interactions in these disorders, previous studies investigating abnormalities in the emotional scene response using event-related potentials (ERPs) have yielded mixed findings, and few studies compare findings across psychiatric diagnoses. The current study investigates the effects of emotion and repetition on ERPs in a large, well-characterized sample of participants with schizophrenia-bipolar syndromes. Two ERP components that are modulated by emotional content and scene repetition, the early posterior negativity (EPN) and late positive potential (LPP), were recorded in healthy controls and participants with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder with psychosis, and bipolar disorder without psychosis. Effects of emotion and repetition were compared across groups. Results displayed significant but small effects in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, with diminished EPN amplitudes to neutral and novel scenes, reduced LPP amplitudes to emotional scenes, and attenuated effects of scene repetition. Despite significant findings, small effect sizes indicate that emotional scene processing is predominantly intact in these disorders. Multivariate analyses indicate that these mild ERP abnormalities are related to cognition, psychosocial functioning, and psychosis severity. This relationship suggests that impaired cognition, rather than diagnosis or mood disturbance, may underlie disrupted neural scene processing in schizophrenia-bipolar syndromes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1473-1481
Number of pages9
JournalSchizophrenia bulletin
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • affective processing
  • electroencephalography
  • psychosis spectrum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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