The following is a summary of “Characteristics of theory of mind impairment and its relationship with clinical symptoms and neurocognition in patients with schizophrenia,” published in the October 2023 issue of Psychiatry by Wu et al.
Theory of mind (ToM) impairment is a core feature of schizophrenia (SCZ), but its characteristics and correlations with clinical symptoms are unclear. Researchers performed a retrospective study to identify the characteristics of ToM impairment in patients with SCZ.
They conducted a study with 30 patients diagnosed with SCZ and 30 healthy controls, matched in terms of age, sex, and level of education. The patients’ clinical symptoms were assessed using the Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS), while the subjects’ neurocognitive abilities were evaluated using the Trail Making Test, Symbol Coding Test, and Digit Span Test. The Yoni task assessed ToM impairment at various stages (first- and second-order) and individual components. Latent profile and network analyses identified potential ToM performance types and analyzed independent correlations with clinical symptoms.
The results indicated that patients with SCZ had significant impairments in both first-order and second-order ToM (P<0.05). Second-order affective ToM was primarily related to complex affective states (P=0.003). Latent profile analysis categorized patients into groups with complete, second-order, and comprehensive ToM defects, but not based on cognitive and affective ToM differences. Network analysis found that cognitive ToM correlated with positive symptoms, while affective ToM correlated with negative symptoms.
They concluded that patients with SCZ have different types of theory of mind impairments, which may be related to other psychotic symptoms.