Date of Award

6-1-2014

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Paul Nestor

Second Advisor

Alice S. Carter

Third Advisor

Margaret Niznikiewicz

Abstract

Social cognitive deficits are a hallmark of the negative symptomatology of schizophrenia. Recent theories on the role of social cognition in schizophrenia have suggested that deficits may result from illness pathology, and that simultaneously the resulting decreased level of social interaction both perpetuates and exacerbates the illness in those affected with the disorder. Neuroimaging techniques provide a unique perspective not only on the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, but also on the ways in which hypothesized social circuits function in individuals not affected by mental illness. This study examines the fusiform gyrus (FG), a region shown to be involved in neural circuits underlying social cognitive processes, and its contributions to different symptom profiles in individuals with schizophrenia. A model for social cognition and its neural correlates is proposed using evidence from already published articles (regarding the role of the superior temporal gyrus, STG) and newly analyzed data (regarding the FG). Previously collected data will be analyzed to explore the relationships of symptom ratings, personality inventories, and 1.5 Tesla MRI volumetric measures of FG. In an archival sample of persons with chronic schizophrenia, hierarchical regression analyses will be used to examine the relationships of (a) symptom expression and individual differences in personality and (b) the respective contributions of each of these putative measures of social cognition to STG and FG gray matter volume.

Comments

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