Schizotypal Traits and Patterns of Visual Fixations on Self and Stranger Faces
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Schizophrenia is a long-term mental illness that involves altered social perceptions, including altered self-awareness. Past research has found that individuals with schizophrenia show slower and less accurate self-face recognition and look at faces differently than neurotypical individuals. Further, individuals high on schizotypal traits show diminished fixation on the eyes of strangers. To date, however, no study has examined the relationship between schizotypal traits and attention to one’s own face. Thus, in the current study, 52 undergraduate college students completed a measure of schizotypal traits designed to capture variability in the typical population. We also collected eye-tracking data while participants viewed photographs of themselves and of strangers in two emotional states: neutral and happy. We did not find any correlations between number of eye fixations and level of schizotypal traits for self or stranger faces in either emotional state. Although we did not find a relationship between schizotypal traits and patterns of visual attention to faces, our findings still contribute to the literature for understanding face processing in clinical and non-clinical populations, potentially suggesting that subclinical traits are not related to altered social attention. Future research should examine larger samples and a wider variety of emotional expressions to better understand the relations between schizophrenia, schizotypal traits, and visual attention.