2nd International Conference on Brain Disorders and Therapeutics
University of Birmingham, UK
Title: Identifying other people’s perspective and hints in schizophrenia: more evidence of a possible theory of mind impairment
Biography: Helena Conde
Historically, a number of studies focusing on mentalising skills in children with ASD (Baron-Cohen, Leslie & Frith, 1985) and in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia (Frith, 1992) claimed that people who received a diagnosis of ASD or schizophrenia tended not to do well in identifying other people’s point of view. In fact, the primary or default perspective the brain activates is always one’s own (Samson, Apperly, Braithwaite, Andrews & Scott, 2010) and in order for anyone to acknowledge somebody else’s perspective, the self-perspective has to be inhibited. In order to investigate the actual presence of impairments in the alter centric perspective recognition in schizophrenia, twenty-five outpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia (Group S) and on anti-psychotic medication for more than ten years and twenty-five healthy controls who had never received a diagnosis of a mental health disorder and who had never received any psychiatric medication (Group C) took part in three experiments. Participants were matched for verbal comprehension IQ, working memory skills and attention. The experiments consisted of a visual computational perspective-taking task, a facial emotions recognition task and a hinting task. Results for the visual computational perspective-taking task showed that people who received a diagnosis of schizophrenia made more mistakes than controls when identifying the avatar’s perspective, not their own perspective. The hinting task results showed that patients had more difficulties than controls in identifying what the hints meant. Facial emotions recognition task results showed no significant differences between patients and controls. Results from the facial emotions recognition task suggest that facial emotions recognition is a separate visual interpretation skill that perhaps is not directly related to being able to acknowledge another person’s perspective.