February 27, 2006

Facial recognition software helps treat schizophrenia

Facial recognition software helps people suffering from schizophrenia

The high-tech computer software designed to help customs officers scan the faces of travellers is now being used to help patients with schizophrenia.

The software can teach patients to understand facial expressions, something they often have difficulty with.

For most people a smile is just a smile, but to people with schizophrenia, who have trouble interpreting facial expressions, a smile can be anything but reassuring.

Researcher Dr Tamara Russell from Neuroscience Institute of Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders (NISAD) says sufferers often misinterpret the facial expression of emotion, which can lead to difficulties in interpersonal situations.

To overcome that, researchers at the Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science turned to face recognition software. So far the software is still in the research stage and not yet available to the public.

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