Social cognition in patients with schizophrenia

Abilità socio-emotive in pazienti schizofrenici

A.M. Pagano*, L. Carpinelli**

* Direttore SSD "Cure Territoriali ed integrazione ospedale-territorio" con annesso "Osservatorio Epidemiologico per la Salute Mentale", DSM ASL Salerno; ** Dottoressa in Psicologia Clinica e di Comunità, LUMSA Roma


Dysfunction of meta-cognitive abilities may be considered as a general vulnerability factor for psychological disorders.


The aim of this analysis is to study the level of social abilities in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. It is well established that meta-cognitive function deficit exists in these disorders.


The test battery used for the purposes of this study is as follows: Mini Mental State Examination (Folstein et al., 1975), Test of Theory of Mind (ToM1-Happé, 1994; Blair, Cipolotti, 2000), Test of Theory of Mind (I-II Order) (ToM2-Blair, 1995; Blair, Cipolotti, 2000), Test of Attribution of emotions (Blair, 1995; Blair, Cipolotti, 2000).


The difference in results is significant between groups in the Test of Theory of Mind I and II order: the average of correct answers given to test TOM2 (“I think that you think that he thinks”) in the control group was 0.96 and in the experimental group and 0.63.


The difference between the Control Group (whose members performed on the test appropriately) and the Experimental Group (whose members showed low levels of emotion) support an emotional Impairment In schizophrenia leading to dysfunctional metacognition. The low levels of emotion and the large differences between the groups regarding emotions for others (embarrassment, anger, envy), support the hypothesis that in schizophrenia, the most important conceptual component of the Theory of Mind (ToM), i.e., “I think that you think”, is impaired (Fig. 1).

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