Configural processing in face recognition in schizophrenia

Barbara L. Schwartz, Cherie L. Marvel, Amy Drapalski, Richard B. Rosse, Stephen I. Deutsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction. There is currently substantial literature to suggest that patients with schizophrenia are impaired on many face-processing tasks. This study investigated the specific effects of configural changes on face recognition in groups of schizophrenia patients. Methods. In Experiment 1, participants identified facial expressions in upright faces and in faces inverted from their upright orientation. Experiments 2 and 3 examined recognition memory for faces and other non-face objects presented in upright and inverted orientations. Experiment 4 explored recognition of facial identity in composite images where the top half of one face was fused to the bottom half of another face to form a new face configuration. Results. In each experiment, the configural change had the same effect on face recognition for the schizophrenia patients as it did for control participants. Recognising inverted faces was more difficult than recognising upright faces, with a disproportionate effect of inversion on faces relative to other objects. Recognition of facial identity in face-halves was interfered with by the formation of a new face configuration. Conclusion. Collectively, these results suggest that people with schizophrenia rely on configural information to recognise photographs of faces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-39
Number of pages25
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Configural processing in face recognition in schizophrenia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this