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Social reasoning in schizophrenia

 

 
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How do people suffering from schizophrenia think socially? In this study by Russell et al. patients were asked to verbally describe cartoons of different social complexity. The results demonstrate that patients suffering from schizophrenia show different result profiles according to their symptomalogy, and that verbal measures may be used as an indicator for social reasoning […]

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Posted December 26, 2005 by thomasr

 
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How do people suffering from schizophrenia think socially? In this study by Russell et al. patients were asked to verbally describe cartoons of different social complexity. The results demonstrate that patients suffering from schizophrenia show different result profiles according to their symptomalogy, and that verbal measures may be used as an indicator for social reasoning deficits in schizophrenia.

Do you see what I see? Interpretations of intentional movement in schizophrenia

Tamara A. Russell et al. in Schizophrenia Research Volume 81, Issue 1 , 1 January 2006, Pages 101-111

Abstract

Objective – Current literature exploring theory of mind (ToM) abilities in patients with schizophrenia has failed to take into account the dynamic nature of complex social interactions. The aim of this study was to explore symptom specific impairments in theory of mind using a novel, dynamic task.

Methods – Subjects viewed short animations displaying three types of movement; random, goal directed, and socially complex (theory of mind). Verbal descriptions of the animations were obtained from 61 patients with schizophrenia (divided into symptom sub-groups) and 22 healthy comparison subjects and were scored for accuracy, type of response and use of target terms (terms most appropriate to each animation type).

Results – Accuracy on all three conditions discriminated behavioural signs (BS), and (to a lesser degree) paranoid subjects, from the other schizophrenia sub-groups (those in remission and those with passivity features) and the controls. Paranoid and BS groups had difficulties with all the animations, yet all symptom sub-groups failed to use the appropriate mentalising language to describe the ToM animations.

Conclusions – In this first exploration of on-line mentalising abilities in schizophrenia, it is suggested that a failure to use appropriate mentalising language may be a trait marker for the disease. The nature of the type of tasks used to assess social cognitive processing in this group needs careful consideration, and tasks tapping into the fluidity of social interactions yield results that differ from previously reported studies.

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