Evidence from paranoid schizophrenia for more than one component of theory of mind

Peter Scherzer, André Achim, Edith Léveillé, Emilie Boisseau, Emmanuel Stip

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We previously reported finding that performance was impaired on four out of five theory of mind (ToM) tests in a group of 21 individuals diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia (pScz), relative to a non-clinical group of 29 individuals (Scherzer et al., 2012). Only the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test did not distinguish between groups. A principal components analysis revealed that the results on the ToM battery could be explained by one general ToM factor with the possibility of a latent second factor. As well, the tests were not equally sensitive to the pathology. There was also overmentalization in some ToM tests and under-mentalisation in others. These results led us to postulate that there is more than one component to ToM. We hypothesized that correlations between the different EF measures and ToM tests would differ sufficiently within and between groups to support this hypothesis. We considered the relationship between the performance on eight EF tests and five ToM tests in the same diagnosed and non-clinical individuals as in the first study. The ToM tests shared few EF correlates and each had its own best EF predictor. These findings support the hypothesis of multiple ToM components.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1643
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Executive functions
  • Paranoid symptoms
  • Schizophrenia
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology

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