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Affective and Cognitive Verbal Theory of Mind in Schizophrenia: Results From a Novel Paradigm

  • Łukasz Okruszek (a1), Aleksandra Piejka (a2), Ewa Szczepocka (a3), Adam Wysokiński (a3) and Agnieszka Pluta (a2)...

Objectives: Impairments of Theory of Mind (ToM) have been repeatedly demonstrated in patients with schizophrenia (SCZ). However, only a handful of studies have explored deficits in affective and cognitive subcomponents of ToM. Thus, this study aims to examine affective and cognitive ToM abilities in SCZ by using a novel, verbal paradigm. Methods: Twenty-four SCZ and 22 healthy comparison subjects (HC) completed a battery of tasks, which consisted of: (i) Brief Cognitive Assessment Tool for Schizophrenia (B-CATS), (ii) three well-established tasks measuring social cognitive abilities, and (iii) original tasks which assess ability to infer cognitive and affective mental states based on everyday verbal social interactions. Results: In line with previous findings, SCZ were outperformed by HC in all tasks. However, the interaction effect of the group and the task showed that cognitive (as opposed to affective) ToM was more profoundly impaired in patients with SCZ. Conclusions: It is proposed that in SCZ group cognitive ToM is more impaired as it involves more effortful reflective processes, while affective ToM, which is more automatic and based on reflexive processes, may differentiate patients from healthy comparison subjects to a lesser extent. (JINS, 2018, 24, 305–309)

Corresponding author
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Łukasz Okruszek, Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw, Jaracza 1, 00-378 Warsaw. E-mail:
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Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
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