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

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129. Exploring the relationship of cognitive functioning to implicit and explicit theory of mind across the spectrum of genetic liability for psychosis

Persons with psychosis (PwP) have deficits in social cognitive processes, including theory of mind (ToM). Implicit ToM is more automatic and less cognitively demanding, while explicit ToM is a more thoughtful and cognitively demanding component of ToM. In this study, we aimed to explore the relationship of cognitive functioning to both implicit and explicit ToM, and how these relationships present across the spectrum of genetic liability for psychosis. PwP, their first-degree biological relatives (RelPwP) and controls (Ctrl) completed an explicit ToM task (Social Attribution Task - Multiple Choice II; n=10 Ctrl, n=29 RelPwP, n=70 PwP), an implicit ToM task (shape animations depicting social or non-social scenes; n=34 Ctrl, n=29 RelPwP, n=69 PwP), and the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS). For each group for each task, we ran a multiple regression using age, gender, and BACS composite score to predict task performance. We hypothesized that cognitive functioning would be associated with explicit but not implicit ToM task performance. BACS composite scores were significantly associated with explicit ToM task performance within each group but not with implicit ToM task performance, suggesting that across groups, cognitive processes play an important role in explicit ToM. Future analyses will include larger sample sizes.

Evan Myers
University of Minnesota

Jerillyn Kent
University of Minnesota

Kyle Minor
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Scott Sponheim
University of Minnesota


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