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Open AccessArticle

Improvement of Theory of Mind in Schizophrenia: A 15-Year Follow-Up Study

1
Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Szeged, 6722 Szeged, Hungary
2
Bács-Kiskun County Hospital, Psychiatry Centre, 6000 Kecskemét, Hungary
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Nyirő Gyula National Institute of Psychiatry and Addictions, 1135 Budapest, Hungary
4
Department of Cognitive Science, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, 1111 Budapest, Hungary
5
Department of Physiology, University of Szeged, 6722 Szeged, Hungary
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Psych 2019, 1(1), 420-428; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych1010032
Received: 23 April 2019 / Revised: 11 July 2019 / Accepted: 15 July 2019 / Published: 17 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognition and memory: from body to mind and back)
Neurocognitive and social cognitive deficits are a hallmark of schizophrenia. The purpose of the present study was to investigate long-term changes in theory of mind (ToM), executive functions, lexical retrieval, and speed of information processing/attention in schizophrenia. We followed-up 31 outpatients with schizophrenia and 31 healthy control subjects for 15 years. ToM was assessed with the Reading the Mind from the Eyes Test (RMET), whereas neurocognitive functions were measured with the verbal fluency (VF) task (executive functions and lexical retrieval) and with the Digit-Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) (speed of information processing/attention). Clinical symptoms and general functioning were rated with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and with the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale, respectively. At baseline assessment, patients with schizophrenia exhibited significant and generalized impairments on all measures. At follow-up, relative to the baseline, we observed marked improvements in ToM (RMET), stability in executive functions and lexical retrieval (VF), and a significant decline in psychomotor speed/attention (DSST) in schizophrenia. Clinical symptoms and psychosocial functions did not differ at baseline and at follow-up examinations (mild-to-moderate symptoms on the PANSS and moderate difficulty in social and occupational functions on the GAF). These results indicate that patients with schizophrenia with mild-to-moderate symptoms and functional deficits are characterized by improved ToM during over a decade. View Full-Text
Keywords: schizophrenia; social cognition; Reading the Mind from the Eyes Test; endophenotype; follow-up study; neurocognitive dysfunction schizophrenia; social cognition; Reading the Mind from the Eyes Test; endophenotype; follow-up study; neurocognitive dysfunction
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Kelemen, O.; Máttyássy, A.; Kéri, S. Improvement of Theory of Mind in Schizophrenia: A 15-Year Follow-Up Study. Psych 2019, 1, 420-428.

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