Ambulatory Digital Phenotyping of Blunted Affect and Alogia using Objective Facial and Vocal Analysis: Proof of Concept


Negative symptoms of Schizophrenia – including blunted affect and alogia – are poorly understood yet amongst the most debilitating to patients. They are traditionally assessed with questionnaire measures or clinician ratings both of which are subject to bias and limited to whenever the patient comes into a clinic. There is a need for measures that are objective and more accessible for patients.

A team from Louisiana State University, University of Nevada, and University of Georgia used the mEMA System to capture ambulatory video from patients with schizophrenia and non-psychiatric controls as they went about their daily life. They collected 788 videos, 80% of which were usable for analysis.

They analyzed facial and vocal features of these ambulatory videos and found them to have significant convergence with “gold standard” measures of negative symptomology. Additionally, they found that the ambulatory facial/vocal measures were more highly associated with work and social engagement than standard measures. This novel, objective, and highly accessible methods of symptom assessment would not have been discovered without access to a reliable system for collecting ambulatory video samples.

Alex Cohen

Professor, Louisiana State University