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Mirror gazing illusion common in schizophrenic patients

By jeremyc | August 16, 2012

Mirror gazing illusion is most common in people with schizophrenia, says a new study. The study was conducted by a group of researchers headed by Stefano Zago from the University of Milan, Italy. The results of the study were published in the recent issue of the magazine “Schizophrenia Research”.

The aim of the study was to understand the prevalence of illusion while gazing at the mirror for the schizophrenic patients. The researchers conducted the study on 16 people who suffered from schizophrenia. The control group had 21 mentally healthy people. The researchers gave the participants of the study a seven-minute mirror gazing test. The researchers also gave the participants questionnaires that had questions related to the strange-face perceptions.

The researchers assessed the number of strange-face perceptions given by the schizophrenic patients and healthy participants. The researchers found that the patients with schizophrenia get the illusion that they are seeing the face of a stranger if they are asked to view their face on the mirror in dim light.

The results of the study found that the schizophrenic patients had more strange-face perceptions (2.8) as compared to the healthy participants (1.5). The researchers also found that the nature of strange-face perceptions differed in both the patients and healthy people. While all the patients viewed highly deformed faces on the mirror, only 71 per cent of the healthy people reported the same. While 50 per cent of patients saw archetypical faces, only 19 per cent of the healthy people viewed them. More than 88 per cent of the patients saw monstrous faced while only 29 per cent of the healthy people saw them.

The researchers also found that the intensity of apparitions was very high in the schizophrenic patients as compared to the healthy participants.

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