eISSN: 2084-9885
ISSN: 1896-6764
Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia/Neuropsychiatry and Neuropsychology
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vol. 11
Review paper

Deficits in social cognition in autistic spectrum disorders – comparison with schizophrenia

Katarzyna Człapa
Dorota Wysok
Filip Rybakowski

Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia 2016; 11, 1: 12–20
Online publish date: 2016/05/11
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The article presents a brief overview of research in the area of social cognition in schizophrenia and autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Individuals with autism and those with schizophrenia are both characterized by marked social deficits. Social cognition research studies the cognitive structures and processes that shape our understanding of social situations and that mediate our behavioral reactions to them. There are four structures of social cognition: emotional perception, social perception, theory of mind and attribution styles. Individuals with ASD present deficits in facial emotion recognition, lower activation of the fusiform gyrus (face recognition) and cerebral cortex (emotional and motivational processes) and score substantially lower on measures of social theory of mind. Individuals with schizophrenia are characterized by lower emotional activity in the frontal (braking intense emotions), temporal (integrates sensory information) and parietal cortex (emotional perception), deficits in emotional prosody, deficits in mentalization and stronger bias toward blaming others rather than situations for negative outcomes. Both clinical groups show deficits in cognitive processes responsible for mentalization. Individuals with high functional autism are characterized by similar deficits in social cognition as individuals with schizophrenia with negative symptoms. Further research is needed in the area of social cognition in ASD and schizophrenia. It could delineate unique and shared aspects of these disorders that would be useful in research on the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and ASD.

social cognition, theory of mind, autistic spectrum disorder, schizophrenia

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