Nonverbal Behavior During Face-to-face Social Interaction in Schizophrenia: A Review

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Patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia display social cognitive deficits. However, little is known about patients’ nonverbal communication during their social encounters with others. This review identified 17 studies investigating nonverbal communication in patients’ unscripted face-to-face interactions, addressing a) nonverbal differences between patients and others, b) nonverbal behavior of the patients’ partners, c) the association between nonverbal behavior and symptoms, and d) the association between nonverbal behavior and social outcomes. Patients displayed fewer nonverbal behaviors inviting interaction, with negative symptoms exacerbating this pattern. Positive symptoms were associated with heightened nonverbal behavior. Patients’ partners changed their own nonverbal behavior in response to the patient. Reduced prosocial behaviors, inviting interaction, were associated with poorer social outcomes. The evidence suggests that patients’ nonverbal behavior, during face-to-face interaction, is influenced by patients symptoms and impacts the success of their social interactions.

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