Decoding emotion of the other differs among schizophrenia patients and schizoaffective patients: A pilot study

Hagar Tadmor, Maya Levin, Tzameret Dadon, Meital E. Meiman, Alaa Ajameeh, Hosam Mazzawi, Amihai Rigbi, Ilana Kremer, Idit Golani, Alon Shamir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The deficit in ability to attribute mental states such as thoughts, beliefs, and intentions of another person is a key component in the functional impairment of social cognition in schizophrenia. In the current study, we compared the ability of persons with first episode schizophrenia (FE-SZ) and individuals with schizophrenia displaying symptomatic remission (SZ-CR) to decode the mental state of others with healthy individuals and schizoaffective patients. In addition, we analyzed the effect of dopamine-related genes polymorphism on the ability to decode the mental state of another, and searched for different genetic signatures. Our results show that overall, individuals with schizophrenia performed worse in the "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" (eyes) test, a simple well-defined task to infer the mental state of others than healthy individuals. Within the schizophrenia group, schizoaffective scored significantly higher than FE-SZ, SZ-CR, and healthy individuals. No difference was observed in performance between FE-SZ and SZ-CR subjects. Interestingly, FE-SZ and SZ-CR, but not schizoaffective individuals, performed worse in decoding negative and neutral emotional valance than the healthy control group. At the genetic level, we observed a significant effect of the DAT genotype, but not D4R genotype, on the eyes test performance. Our data suggest that understanding the mental state of another person is a trait marker of the illness, and might serve as an intermediate phenotype in the diagnostic process of schizophrenia disorders, and raise the possibility that DA-related DAT gene might have a role in decoding the mental state of another person.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-20
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research: Cognition
Volume5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors.

Keywords

  • Dopamine
  • Dopamine transporter
  • Mental state decoding
  • Schizophrenia
  • Theory of mind

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