Performance in multiple domains of social cognition in parents of patients with schizophrenia.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Psychiatry Res, Volume 220, Issue 1-2, p.118-24 (2014)


<p>Social cognition refers to a set of cognitive abilities that allow us to perceive and interpret social stimuli. Social cognition is affected in schizophrenia and impairments have also been documented in unaffected relatives, suggesting that social cognition may be related to a genetic vulnerability to the disease. This study aims to investigate potential impairments in four domains of social cognition (mentalizing, emotion recognition, social knowledge and empathy) in the same group of relatives in order to gather a more complete picture of social cognition difficulties in this population. The Batterie Intégrée de Cognition Sociale (BICS) (mentalizing, emotion recognition, and social knowledge) and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) (empathy) were administered to 31 parents of patients with a psychotic disorder and 38 healthy controls. Parents of patients performed significantly worse than controls on the mentalizing test but significantly better on the social knowledge test. No significant between-group differences were observed for emotion recognition and empathy. This study is the first to evaluate four social cognition domains in this population. The results precise which social cognition processes may be impaired or preserved in unaffected relatives of patients and lead us to propose an hypothesis about a mechanism that could underlie the mentalizing difficulties observed in this population.</p>

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