People with schizophrenia do not show the normal benefits of social versus nonsocial attentional cues

Academic Article


  • Objective: Schizophrenia is associated with impairments in social motivation. Social attention has been proposed as an underlying mechanism for social motivation. However, studies in schizophrenia have rarely examined social attention, and none of these studies examined the effects with rapidly presented stimuli. Method: The current study examined whether individuals with schizophrenia have reduced social attention and whether reduced social attention was related to social motivation deficits (measured with the Clinical Assessment Interview for Negative Symptoms) and decreased social functioning (Role Functioning Scale). Thirty-seven outpatients with schizophrenia and 29 healthy participants completed a gaze cueing task with directional social cues (eye gaze) and nonsocial cues (arrows) at varying stimulus onset asynchronies. Results: As predicted, schizophrenia participants had reduced social attention relative to nonsocial attention, compared with healthy participants. Healthy participants were quicker to respond to social cues than nonsocial cues, but schizophrenia participants did not exhibit this same pattern. Schizophrenia participants showed higher accuracy when targets appeared in the same location as a directional cue (i.e., congruency) for nonsocial, but not social, cues. Contrary to expectations, reduced social attention was not significantly correlated with clinically rated social motivation deficits or decreased social functioning in the schizophrenia group. Conclusion: These findings provide evidence for social attention deficits in schizophrenia, but without a clear mapping of its influence on social motivation.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Neuropsychology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Catalano LT; Green MF; Wynn JK; Lee J
  • Start Page

  • 620
  • End Page

  • 628
  • Volume

  • 34
  • Issue

  • 6