Social perception in schizophrenia: Evidence of temporo-occipital and prefrontal dysfunction

Olivia A. Bjorkquist*, Ellen S. Herbener

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Individuals with schizophrenia evidence deficits in social functioning such as difficulties in communication, maintaining employment, and functioning as a member of the community. Impairment in such functions has been linked with higher order social cognitive deficits, which, in turn, have been associated with abnormal brain function. However, it is unclear whether brain abnormalities are found specifically for higher order social cognitive functioning, or whether "lower order" social processing, such as perceiving social stimuli, might demonstrate abnormalities at the neural level. The current study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to explore the neural correlates of social perception in schizophrenia. Individuals with schizophrenia (n = 14) and healthy comparison participants (n = 14) viewed social (i.e., faces, people) and nonsocial (i.e., scenes, objects) images that varied in affective content (emotional, neutral). Schizophrenia patients showed decreased brain activation, compared to controls, in occipital and temporal regions associated with early visual processing, as well as increased cingulate activity, in response to emotional social relative to nonsocial images. Results indicate aberrant neural response during early stages of visual processing of social information, which may contribute to higher order social cognitive deficits characteristic of this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-182
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 30 2013


  • Early visual processing
  • Emotion
  • FMRI
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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