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174. The associations between theory of mind and clinical symptoms in schizophrenia
Theory of mind (ToM), the ability to infer the mental states of others, is a complex and multi-determined process. Among these processes, clinical symptoms are associated with ToM, but prior results are heterogeneous. Most prior studies have looked at these associations using a three-dimension approach, including positive, negative and general symptoms. The objective of this study was to explore the associations between ToM and the clinical symptoms of schizophrenia as measured with the 5 dimensions of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Fifty-four participants with schizophrenia were administered the Combined Stories Test (COST), a ToM task with excellent psychometric properties, and their clinical symptoms were rated with the PANSS. A moderate and significant association was observed between ToM and positive symptoms (r(54)=-0.32,p=0.020) while the association with cognitive/disorganization symptoms was strong (r(54)=-0.55,p<0.001). As for the non-social reasoning question of the COST, a moderate and significant association was observed for cognitive/disorganization symptoms (r(54)=-0.30,p=0.028), whereas positive symptoms were specifically linked with ToM and not with non-social reasoning (r(54)=0.05,p=0.703). These results suggest that reasoning about the mental states of others could be influenced by cognitive processes (e.g.abstraction) and positive symptoms (e.g.delusions), while non-social reasoning would be more specifically influenced by cognitive processes.