Using questionnaires and task-related EEG signals to reveal hindered reappraisal and biased suppression in individuals with high schizotypal traits.
ABSTRACT: Although impaired ability to regulate emotion is commonly reported in schizophrenic patients, the exact pattern of regulation of negative emotions in high-risk individuals remains unclear. In the current study, 26 high-schizotypy individuals paired with 26 controls completed an emotion regulation questionnaire (ERQ) and a laboratory emotion regulation task with electroencephalogram (EEG) recording. Two emotion regulation strategies, namely, reappraisal and expression suppression, were concurrently examined. The late positive potential (LPP) and frontal alpha asymmetry (FAA) were selected as two independent neural indicators of the emotion regulation effect. In the ERQ questionnaire, individuals in the high schizotypy group reported higher habitual use of suppression than the controls. During the emotion regulation task, the high schizotypy group showed no early LPP reduction in reappraisal compared with the control group and exhibited a general negative FAA pattern (left-biased alpha). In conclusion, we found that individuals with high schizotypy exhibited maladaptive regulation of negative emotions, manifested in hindered reappraisal and biased suppression; this may exacerbate the negative affect of such emotions and further serve as a risk factor for psychosis conversion. Early interventions targeting the regulation of negative emotions may be beneficial for individuals with high schizotypal traits.