Influence of the Neuropsychological Functions in Theory of Mind in Schizophrenia: The False-Belief/Deception Paradigm

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The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of neurocognition in a false-belief/deception theory of mind (ToM) task in a sample of patients with schizophrenia. In a cross-sectional study of 43 remitted patients, the implication of neurocognition in first- and second-order ToM stories was analyzed, controlling for clinical symptoms and duration of illness. None of the cognitive factors were associated with the first-order ToM stories. A logistic regression model with high specificity (96.3%) and sensitivity (75%) was obtained in the second-order ToM story “The Burglar,” the Information subtest (odds ratio [OR], 0.783; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.62–0.99; p = 0.04) and the Block Design subtest (OR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.79–1; p = 0.056) of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–III being the best predictive factors. Neurocognition was not related to first- or second-order ToM false-belief performance of the patients with schizophrenia. However, an influence of neuropsychological variables in the second-order ToM deception was observed. The clinical implications in the assessment of ToM are discussed.

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