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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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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.

Audrey Cayouette
CERVO Brain Research Center, Université Laval

Élisabeth Thibaudeau
CERVO Brain Research Center, Université Laval

Caroline Cellard
CERVO Brain Research Center, Unviversité Laval

Amélie M. Achim
CERVO Brain Research Center, Université Laval


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