Do patients with schizophrenia attribute mental states in a referential communication task?

Maud Champagne-Lavau, Marion Fossard, Guillaume Martel, Cimon Chapdelaine, Guy Blouin, Jean Pierre Rodriguez, Emmanuel Stip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction. Many studies have reported that individuals with schizophrenia (SZ) may have impaired social cognition, resulting in communication disorders and theory of mind (ToM) impairments. However, the classical tasks used to assess impaired ToM ability are too complex. The aim of this study was to assess ToM ability using both a classical task and a referential communication task that reproduces a ''natural'' conversation situation. Methods. Thirty-one participants with schizophrenia and 29 matched healthy participants were tested individually on a referential communication task and on a standard ToM task. Results and Conclusion. The main results showed that SZ participants had difficulties using reference markers and attributing mental states in both ToM tasks. Contrary to healthy participants, they exhibited a tendency to ineffectively mark the information they used (indefinite articles for old information and/or definite articles for new information) and had problems using information they shared with the experimenter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-239
Number of pages23
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Real-life conversation
  • Schizophrenia
  • Shared knowledge
  • Social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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