Theory of Mind in schizophrenia: First person vs third person perspective

Gambini O., Barbieri V., Scarone S.

Consciousness and Cognition 13 (2004) 39–46

Patients suffering from schizophrenia have an impaired meta-representation also known as Theory of Mind (ToM). Moreover, the presence of delusions or other positive symptoms of schizophrenia has been correlated to poor ToM performances. Lack of insight is a common symptom of schizophrenia and can be considered a critical manifestation of impaired ToM abilities. In particular, the present study addresses the role of perspective ToM ability in schizophrenic patients. Thirty severely delusional schizophrenic patients completely lack insight when inter  viewed about their delusions. Seven subsequently gain insight about their mental state when perspective is shifted from the first person to third person. These data suggest that in some delusional schizophrenic patients, it may be possible to gain access to and modify their mental states.


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