Article

Social cognition impairments in Asperger syndrome and schizophrenia

Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
Schizophrenia Research (Impact Factor: 4.43). 12/2012; 143(2-3). DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2012.12.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Social cognition impairments are well described in both autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger syndrome (AS), and in schizophrenia spectrum disorders. However, little is known about whether there are differences between the two groups of disorders regarding this ability. The aim of this study was to compare social cognition abilities in AS and schizophrenia. Fifty-three individuals (26 men, 27 women) with a clinical diagnosis of AS, 36 (22 men, 14 women) with a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenic psychosis, and 50 non-clinical controls (19 men, 31 women) participated in the study. Clinical diagnoses were confirmed either by Structured Clinical Interview on DSM-IV diagnosis or the Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders. Verbal ability was assessed using the Vocabulary subtest of the WAIS-III. Two social cognition instruments were used: Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (Eyes Test) and the Animations Task. On the Eyes Test, patients with schizophrenia showed poorer results compared to non-clinical controls; however, no other group differences were seen. Both clinical groups scored significantly lower than the comparison group on the Animations Task. The AS group performed somewhat better than the schizophrenia group. Some differences were accounted for by gender effects. Implicit social cognition impairments appear to be at least as severe in schizophrenia as they are in AS. Possible gender differences have to be taken into account in future research on this topic.

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