Emotional processing dysfunction is widely reported in patients with chronic schizophrenia and first-episode psychosis (FEP), and has been linked to functional abnormalities of corticolimbic regions. However, corticolimbic dysfunction is less studied in people at ultra-high risk for psychosis (UHR), particularly during processing prosodic voices. We examined corticolimbic response during an emotion recognition task in 18 UHR participants and compared them with 18 FEP patients and 21 healthy controls (HC). Emotional recognition accuracy and corticolimbic response were measured during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) using emotional dynamic facial and prosodic voice stimuli. Relative to HC, both UHR and FEP groups showed impaired overall emotion recognition accuracy. Whilst during face trials, both UHR and FEP groups did not show significant differences in brain activation relative to HC, during voice trials, FEP patients showed reduced activation across corticolimbic networks including the amygdala. UHR participants showed a trend for increased response in the caudate nucleus during the processing of emotionally valenced prosodic voices relative to HC. The results indicate that corticolimbic dysfunction seen in FEP patients is also present, albeit to a lesser extent, in an UHR cohort, and may represent a neural substrate for emotional processing difficulties prior to the onset of florid psychosis.
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