The aim of the study was to assess the efficacy of theatre activities in improving facial expression categorization in people who have schizophrenia by means of a controlled psychophysical experiment performed on matched groups of participants, and appropriate statistical analyses on collected data. In two experiments participants engaged in four alternative labelling tasks of pictures randomly taken from four morphed continua between two emotional facial expressions. Results of Experiment 1 showed that the identification rate was specifically lower for partipants who have schizophrenia-spectrum disorders (SSD) than for matched controls for the response fear, and less dramatically lower for the response sadness. Results of Experiment 2 showed that the specific impairment in the Identification of fear expression improved in people with SSD who have experience of theatre activities with respect to matched SSD patients without theatre experience. These results suggest that theatre activities may be included in broad-based social cognitive training programs for those diagnosed with schizophrenia, and that it may be considered a useful means to directly affect social cognition, given the effects we found in the domain of facial expression recognition.
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