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[evol-psych] Theory of mind in schizophrenia

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  • Ian Pitchford
    Psychological Medicine (1999), 29:613-620. Cambridge University Press. Copyright © 1999 Cambridge University Press How do people with schizophrenia explain
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 10, 1999
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      Psychological Medicine (1999), 29:613-620. Cambridge University Press.
      Copyright © 1999 Cambridge University Press

      How do people with schizophrenia explain the behaviour of others? A study of
      theory of mind and its relationship to thought and speech disorganization in
      schizophrenia

      YVES SARFATI a1 c1 and MARIE-CHRISTINE HARDY-BAYLÉ a1
      a1Departement de Psychiatrie, Centre Hospitalier de Versailles, Versailles,
      France

      Abstract

      Background. This paper examines the attribution of mental states to others in
      schizophrenia and its links with thought and speech disorganization.

      Methods. Two groups of schizophrenic subjects (15 with and 10 without thought
      and speech disorganization) were compared with 10 manic subjects and 15 normal
      controls on their pattern of answers to 14 theory of mind comic strips.

      Results. Schizophrenic subjects with disorganization and a more severe general
      psychopathology exhibited more unadaptated interpretations of others' mental
      states than those without disorganization or the manic or normal controls.
      Their explanation of other people's behaviour tended to be influenced by the
      frequency of their actions rather than their mental states.

      Conclusions. The disorganization pattern in schizophrenia may be associated
      with a specific deficit of the cognitive ability referred to as theory of mind,
      and this deficit could be a state rather than a trait variable. Patients with
      thought and speech disorders may be more likely to understanding other people's
      mental states in unambiguous and common situations.

      Correspondence:

      c1Address for correspondence: Dr Yves Sarfati, Service de Psychiatrie
      d'Adultes, Centre Hospitalier de Versailles, 177 rue de Versailles, 78150 Le
      Chesnay, France.
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