OBJECTIVE: There is an increasing interest in the background of mentalization deficit in schizophrenia. On the one hand, according to developmental psychological studies, mentalization development is connected with the development of pragmatic language skills. On the other hand, studies suggest that mentalization is dependent on the maturation of neurocognitive skills such as executive functions. Our study investigated the role of these domains in the mentalization deficit of schizophrenia. METHOD: 28 patients with schizophrenia and 20 control patients with depression took part in the first part of the study. Participants were presented first-order and second-order mentalization tasks, metaphor and irony tasks for the assessment of mentalizing skills. The pragmatic language skills were examined by "question and answer" vignettes. 20 patients with schizophrenia took part in the second part of the study. The test battery was completed with a picture recognition task and neurocognitive tests were made by all patients. RESULTS: Patients with schizophrenia performed significantly worse in the irony and pragmatic tasks, but there was no correlation between their performances in the irony and in the pragmatic tasks. Selective attention and verbal working memory showed correlation with the cumulative verbal mentalization index. Selective attention correlated with the recognition of complex mental states from pictures as well, but the successful decoding of complex mental states was dependent on the recognition of basic expressions. Attention correlated with mental state recognition as well. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the mentalization deficits of people with schizophrenia cannot be explained by pragmatic language deficits alone, and the manifest impairment is the consequence of disturbances in multiple cognitive processes. Basic neurocognitive factors such as attention, selective attention and verbal working memory can influence the mentalization skills.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Neuropsychopharmacologia Hungarica : a Magyar Pszichofarmakológiai Egyesület lapja = official journal of the Hungarian Association of Psychopharmacology|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2004|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
- Clinical Neurology