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Published April 2010 | Published
Journal Article Open

Comparison of social cognitive functioning in schizophrenia and high functioning autism: more convergence than divergence


Background: Individuals with schizophrenia and individuals with high-functioning autism (HFA) seem to share some social, behavioral and biological features. Although marked impairments in social cognition have been documented in both groups, little empirical work has compared the social cognitive functioning of these two clinical groups. Method: Forty-four individuals with schizophrenia, 36 with HFA and 41 non-clinical controls completed a battery of social cognitive measures that have been linked previously to specific brain regions. Results: The results indicate that the individuals with schizophrenia and HFA were both impaired on a variety of social cognitive tasks relative to the non-clinical controls, but did not differ from one another. When individuals with schizophrenia were divided into negative symptom and paranoid subgroups, exploratory analyses revealed that individuals with HFA may be more similar, in terms of the pattern of social cognition impairments, to the negative symptom group than to the paranoia group. Conclusions: Our findings provide further support for similarities in social cognition deficits between HFA and schizophrenia, which have a variety of implications for future work on gene-brain-behavior relationships

Additional Information

© 2009 Cambridge University Press. Received 2 December 2008; Revised 19 June 2009; Accepted 19 June 2009; First published online 12 August 2009. This study was funded by a grant from Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, LLC, USA to D.P. and NIH U54 MH66418 (STAART Center) and NICHD P30 HD003110 (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center) to J.P.

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