The study of social cognition with neuroimaging methods as a means to explore future directions of deficit evaluation in schizophrenia?

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Psychiatry Res, Volume 190, Issue 1, p.23-31 (2011)


Cognition Disorders, Humans, Neuroimaging, Neuropsychological Tests, Schizophrenia, Schizophrenic Psychology, Social Behavior


<p>This article discusses the important advances in a recent field of science dealing with the brain processes implicated in understanding social situations and interacting with others. Many behavioral studies on schizophrenia have shown the impairment of these processes and their preferential relation with disorganization and negative syndromes. Brain imaging is a powerful method to identify brain systems participating in these processes in healthy subjects and will be used increasingly to study mental disorders such as schizophrenia. A few preliminary studies have opened this field of research and allowed for the drawing of some limited conclusions. We emphasize the importance of developing an integrated neurocognitive framework to account for the multifaceted nature of social cognition deficits in schizophrenia. Inspired by contemporary models of empathy and social cognition that identify different components such as shared representation, mentalizing, self/other distinction, we show how schizophrenia affects these components at the behavioral and functional levels. We also outline the interest of this model to understand putative abnormalities of contextual integration within the area of mentalization. Finally, we discuss how specialized measures of brain functions during the performance of these precisely defined mental processes might be used as outcome predictors.</p>

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