Psychiatry Investig.  2020 Dec;17(12):1200-1206. 10.30773/pi.2020.0264.

Impaired Performance on the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test in First-Episode Psychosis and Clinical High Risk for Psychosis

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Seoul National University College of Natural Sciences, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 3Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 4Department of Neuropsychiatry, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan, Republic of Korea
  • 5Institute of Human Behavioral Medicine, SNU-MRC, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Abstract


Objective
Although previous studies have reported impaired performance in the reading the mind in the eyes test (RMET), which measures complex emotion recognition abilities, in patients with schizophrenia, reports regarding individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis have been inconsistent, mainly due to the interacting confounding effects of general cognitive abilities and age. We compared RMET performances across first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients, CHR individuals, and healthy controls (HCs) while controlling for the effects of both general cognitive abilities and age.
Methods
A total of 25 FEP, 41 CHR, and 44 HC subjects matched for age participated in this study. RMET performance scores were compared across the groups using analysis of variance with sex and intelligence quotient as covariates. Exploratory Pearson’s correlation analyses were performed to reveal the potential relationships of RMET scores with clinical symptom severity in the FEP and CHR groups.
Results
RMET performance scores were significantly lower among FEP and CHR participants than among HCs. FEP patients and CHR subjects showed comparable RMET performance scores. RMET scores were negatively correlated with Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) positive symptom subscale scores in the FEP patients. No significant correlation was identified between RMET scores and other clinical scale scores.
Conclusion
Impaired RMET performance is present from the risk stage of psychosis, which might be related to positive symptom severity in early psychosis. Longitudinal studies are necessary to confirm the stability of complex emotion recognition impairments and their relationship with social functioning in early psychosis patients.

Keyword

Clinical high risk for psychosis; First-episode psychosis; Theory of mind; Reading the mind in the eyes test; Schizophrenia
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