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Expressed Emotion and the Double-Bind: Communication of Specific Emotions in Schizophrenia
Unformatted Document Text:  Page 5 communication of affect in Rhesus monkeys. In this procedure, two monkeys learned to press a bar when a light signal came on. Later, the animals were paired so that a "sender" was shown the signal, and a "receiver" had access to the bar. The animals were in different rooms, but the sender’s face was visible to the receiver via closed-circuit television. If the sender made a facial/gestural expression to the signal, and if the receiver perceived and correctly interpreted that expression, then and only then could the receiver respond appropriately, thus demonstrating that accurate nonverbal/emotional communication had occurred. Miller and colleagues found that normal Rhesus monkeys could solve this problem with relative ease (Miller, Banks, & Ogawa, 1962). However, monkeys that had been reared in isolation in the well-known experiments by Harlow (1971) could neither send nor receive accurately in the cooperative conditioning situation (Miller, Caul, & Mirsky, 1967). This suggested that early social experience is critical in developing the socio/emotional competence necessary to deal effectively with genetically based spontaneous communicative tendencies. More specifically, spontaneous communication tendencies are based upon emotional displays and preattunements that are genetically-based, but in complex social species socio/emotional experience is required to learn how to use these communicative tendencies in actual situations (Buck, 1984; Buck & VanLear, 2002). In applying the cooperative conditioning procedure to human participants, human senders watch and rate their feelings about a series of emotionally loaded color slides while being unobtrusively filmed. Receivers viewing the film of the sender’s facial/gestural expressions judge what kind of slide is shown on each trial, and how the sender felt about it. These judgments are related to the actual slide shown and the sender’s rated reaction, resulting in percent correct and specific-emotion-correlation scores. These are objective accuracy scores, using objective criteria (actual slides presented or actual ratings) that are sensitive to specific emotions and can be evaluated against chance. The SVT may be used to assess both sending accuracy (averaging across receivers) and receiving ability (averaging across senders). Previous research with schizophrenia. Using the SVT, Easton (1995) completed a study including 20 schizophrenia patients, 11 depressed patients, and 12 age-matched comparison persons. This study found evidence of the reliability and validity of the SVT as a measure of emotional expression and communication in these patient groups. Also, schizophrenia patients rated their emotional responses to the slides appropriately, differentiating pleasant and unpleasant slides, for example. This implies that the subjective experience of emotion, as well as the higher-order cognitive processing that underlies the ability to report one’s experience of emotion, were both reasonably intact in the patients. However, the expressive behaviors of the patients were seen as less appropriate, and they did not show normal levels of communication accuracy. The present research carried on this research with expanded samples of schizophrenia patients and comparison persons, using measures of vocal prosody, posed emotional expression, emotion receiving ability, and specific symptoms in schizophrenia patients. The present study reports results relating to the experience, expression, and communication of specific emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, disgust, and pleasantness-unpleasantness.

Authors: Buck, Ross., Sheehan, Megan., Cartwright-Mills, Jacquie., Ray, Ipshita. and Ross, Elliott.
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communication of affect in Rhesus monkeys. In this procedure, two monkeys learned to
press a bar when a light signal came on. Later, the animals were paired so that a "sender"
was shown the signal, and a "receiver" had access to the bar. The animals were in
different rooms, but the sender’s face was visible to the receiver via closed-circuit
television. If the sender made a facial/gestural expression to the signal, and if the
receiver perceived and correctly interpreted that expression, then and only then could the
receiver respond appropriately, thus demonstrating that accurate nonverbal/emotional
communication had occurred. Miller and colleagues found that normal Rhesus monkeys
could solve this problem with relative ease (Miller, Banks, & Ogawa, 1962). However,
monkeys that had been reared in isolation in the well-known experiments by Harlow
(1971) could neither send nor receive accurately in the cooperative conditioning situation
(Miller, Caul, & Mirsky, 1967). This suggested that early social experience is critical in
developing the socio/emotional competence necessary to deal effectively with genetically
based spontaneous communicative tendencies. More specifically, spontaneous
communication tendencies are based upon emotional displays and preattunements that are
genetically-based, but in complex social species socio/emotional experience is required to
learn how to use these communicative tendencies in actual situations (Buck, 1984; Buck
& VanLear, 2002).
In applying the cooperative conditioning procedure to human participants, human
senders watch and rate their feelings about a series of emotionally loaded color slides
while being unobtrusively filmed. Receivers viewing the film of the sender’s
facial/gestural expressions judge what kind of slide is shown on each trial, and how the
sender felt about it. These judgments are related to the actual slide shown and the
sender’s rated reaction, resulting in percent correct and specific-emotion-correlation
scores. These are objective accuracy scores, using objective criteria (actual slides
presented or actual ratings) that are sensitive to specific emotions and can be evaluated
against chance. The SVT may be used to assess both sending accuracy (averaging across
receivers) and receiving ability (averaging across senders).
Previous research with schizophrenia. Using the SVT, Easton (1995) completed a
study including 20 schizophrenia patients, 11 depressed patients, and 12 age-matched
comparison persons. This study found evidence of the reliability and validity of the SVT
as a measure of emotional expression and communication in these patient groups. Also,
schizophrenia patients rated their emotional responses to the slides appropriately,
differentiating pleasant and unpleasant slides, for example. This implies that the
subjective experience of emotion, as well as the higher-order cognitive processing that
underlies the ability to report one’s experience of emotion, were both reasonably intact in
the patients. However, the expressive behaviors of the patients were seen as less
appropriate, and they did not show normal levels of communication accuracy. The
present research carried on this research with expanded samples of schizophrenia patients
and comparison persons, using measures of vocal prosody, posed emotional expression,
emotion receiving ability, and specific symptoms in schizophrenia patients. The present
study reports results relating to the experience, expression, and communication of
specific emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, disgust, and pleasantness-
unpleasantness.


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