Mismatch Negativity, Social Cognition, and Functioning in Schizophrenia Patients

Jonathan K. Wynn, Catherine Sugar, William P. Horan, Robert Kern, Michael F. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


Background: Cognition and social cognition have been found to influence functional outcome in schizophrenia patients. However, little is known about the underlying neural substrates that are associated with social cognition or daily functioning. Prior studies found associations between mismatch negativity (MMN), an event-related potential response indexing early auditory processing, and functioning in schizophrenia patients. Methods: In this study, we examined MMN, social cognition (social perception and theory of mind), and four domains of functioning (work, independent living, social networks, and family networks) in 33 schizophrenia patients and 42 demographically comparable healthy control subjects. Results: Schizophrenia patients exhibited reduced MMN activity at frontocentral electrode sites compared with healthy control subjects. Within the schizophrenia sample, greater MMN activity at frontocentral sites correlated with better work and independent living (but not social or family networks) and with better social perception. Conclusions: These results suggest that MMN activity is more closely tied to some outcome domains (work and independent living) than others. Mismatch negativity has been previously shown to be associated with basic cognition and functional outcome in schizophrenia, but these findings are the first, to our knowledge, to show MMN associations with social cognition. These results are consistent with cascade models of information processing in which deficits in early perceptual processing have a downstream impact on higher order social cognition and community functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)940-947
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 May 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression Young Investigator Award to JKW and Grant MH-43292 from the National Institutes of Mental Health to MFG. JKW was supported by a Veterans Affairs Career Development Award while preparing the manuscript for publication.


  • Functioning
  • mismatch negativity
  • schizophrenia
  • social cognition


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