Structural neural correlates of impairments in social cognition in first episode psychosis.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Soc Neurosci, Volume 3, Issue 1, p.79-88 (2008)


Adult, Brain, Brain Mapping, Cognition, Female, Humans, Male, Nerve Net, Psychotic Disorders, Social Behavior


<p>Several studies have demonstrated that patients with schizophrenia show impairments in social cognition and current evidence indicate that this deficit is associated with abnormal activity in specific brain regions. In addition to functional imaging studies, we believe that the identification of structural correlates of social cognitive processes may help to better understand the neural underpinnings of these specific skills. The main objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between gray matter density and social cognitive deficits in first episode of schizophrenia spectrum psychosis, using a comprehensive assessment that we previously demonstrated to be a highly sensitive measure of social cognitive deficits in this population. Thirty-eight patients with a first episode of psychosis participated in this study, and the Four Factor Test of Social Intelligence was used as a measure of social cognition. Social cognitive impairments in first episode psychosis were significantly correlated with reduced gray-matter density in the left middle frontal gyrus other regions within the mirror neuron system network (MSN), namely the right supplementary motor cortex, the left superior temporal gyrus and the left inferior parietal lobule. We concluded that structural abnormalities within the MSN may account for the social cognitive deficits present in some psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia.</p>

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