[evol-psych] Theory of mind in schizophrenia
- 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
YVES SARFATI a1 c1 and MARIE-CHRISTINE HARDY-BAYLÉ a1
a1Departement de Psychiatrie, Centre Hospitalier de Versailles, Versailles,
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.
c1Address for correspondence: Dr Yves Sarfati, Service de Psychiatrie
d'Adultes, Centre Hospitalier de Versailles, 177 rue de Versailles, 78150 Le