Self-disturbances constitute a hallmark of psychosis, but it remains unclear whether these alterations are present in at-risk populations, and therefore their role in the development of psychosis has yet to be confirmed. The present study addressed this question by measuring neural correlates of self-other processing in youth belonging to three developmental trajectories of psychotic experiences. Eighty-six youths were recruited from a longitudinal cohort of over 3800 adolescents based on their trajectories of Psychotic-Like Experiences from 12 to 16 years of age. Participants underwent neuroimaging at 17 years of age (mean). A functional neuroimaging task evaluating self- and other-related trait judgments was used to measure whole-brain activation and connectivity. Youth who showed an increasing trajectory displayed hypoactivation of the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and hypoconnectivity with the cerebellum. By contrast, youth who showed a decreasing trajectory displayed decreased activation of the superior temporal gyrus, the inferior frontal gyrus, and the middle occipital gyrus. These findings suggest that the increasing trajectory is associated with alterations that might erode distinctions between self and other, influencing the emergence of symptoms such as hallucinations. The decreasing trajectory, in comparison, was associated with hypoactivations in areas influencing attention and basic information processing more generally. These alterations might affect the trajectories’ susceptibilities to positive vs. negative symptoms, respectively.
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