The aim of this study was to investigate the possibility that affect recognition impairments are associated with genetic liability to schizophrenia. In a group of 55 unaffected relatives of schizophrenia patients (parents and siblings) we examined the capacity to detect facially expressed emotions and its relationship to schizotypal personality, neurocognitive functioning, and the subject's actual emotional state. The relatives were compared with 103 schizophrenia patients and 99 healthy subjects without any family history of psychoses. Emotional stimuli were nine black-and-white photos of actors, who portrayed six basic emotions as well as interest, contempt, and shame. The results evidenced the affect recognition deficit in relatives, though milder than that in patients themselves. No correlation between the deficit and schizotypal personality measured with SPQ was detected in the group of relatives. Neither cognitive functioning, including attention, verbal memory and linguistic ability, nor actual emotional states accounted for their affect recognition impairments. The results suggest that the facial affect recognition deficit in schizophrenia may be related to genetic predisposition to the disorder and may serve as an endophenotype in molecular-genetic studies.