Sensory contributions to impaired prosodic processing in schizophrenia

David I. Leitman, John J. Foxe, Pamela D. Butler, Alice Saperstein, Nadine Revheim, Daniel C. Javitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


Background: Deficits in affect recognition are prominent features of schizophrenia. Within the auditory domain, patients show difficulty in interpreting vocal emotional cues based on intonation (prosody). The relationship of these symptoms to deficits in basic sensory processing has not been previously evaluated. Methods: Forty-three patients and 34 healthy comparison subjects were tested on two affective prosody measures: voice emotion identification and voice emotion discrimination. Basic auditory sensory processing was measured using a tone-matching paradigm and the Distorted Tunes Test (DTT). A subset of subjects was also tested on facial affect identification and discrimination tasks. Results: Patients showed significantly impaired performance on all emotion processing tasks. Within the patient group, a principal components analysis demonstrated significant intercorrelations between basic pitch perception and affective prosodic performance. In contrast, facial affect recognition deficits represented a distinct second component. Prosodic affect measures correlated significantly with severity of negative symptoms and impaired global outcome. Conclusions: These results demonstrate significant relationships between basic auditory processing deficits and impaired receptive prosody in schizophrenia. The separate loading of auditory and visual affective recognition measures suggests that within-modality factors may be more significant than cross-modality factors in the etiology of affect recognition deficits in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-61
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2005


  • Auditory
  • Emotion
  • Face recognition
  • Prosody
  • Schizophrenia
  • Visual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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