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    Real-Life Social Network in Schizophrenia Patients and Individuals With Social Anhedonia



    Summary: Both those with schizophrenia and those with social anhedonia have alterations in the social brain network and a diminished correlation with real-world social network size.

    Source: Chinese Academy of Science.

    Schizophrenia is a complex brain disorder characterized by alarming social dysfunctions. A similar but reduced format of social dysfunction has also been detected in individuals with subclinical features such as social anhedonia.

    Dr. Raymond Chan’s team from the Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has recently reported that both patients with schizophrenia and individuals with social anhedonia displayed changes in the social brain network and less correlation with real-world social network size characteristics.

    However, these discoveries were done with an approach that may not be able to describe the complex relationship between brain functional connectivity and real-life social behavior adequately. Moreover, there was doubt about whether the social brain network characteristics could predict a real-world social network.

    To further simplify these issues, the researchers have conducted two studies to specifically analyse the connection between social brain network and real-life social network size in schizophrenia patients using a hub-connected functional connectivity approach, and they validated the prediction of the identified social brain connectivity in individuals with social anhedonia.

    The researchers first recruited 49 patients with schizophrenia and 27 healthy participants for a control group to undertake the resting-state brain imaging scan and complete a checklist to measure social network size.

    The findings revealed that the left temporal lobe was the only hub of the social brain network, and its connected functional connectivity strength was higher than the remaining functional connectivity in patients with schizophrenia and also those of the healthy control group.

    The researchers further recruited 30 patients with schizophrenia and 28 healthy participants of the control group to follow the same procedure and data analysis, and they replicated the same findings in this independent sample.

    In the final analysis the researchers recruited 22 pairs of participants with high and low levels of social anhedonia. All the participants went through the resting-state brain imaging scan and finished a checklist to measure social network size at baseline and then finished another checklist 21 months later.

    Results revealed that social brain network characteristics could predict the change of real-world social networks in participants suffering with social anhedonia.

    Published: Chinese Academy of Science.

    Contact: Press office of Chinese Academy of Science.

    Details: Image source IStock


    Hi, I’m Aarti, My Psychoanalytical approach towards my clients is to empower them to better their lives through improving their relationship with themselves. I believe shame and guilt is a common barrier to change. I aim to guide my clients through re authoring their narratives where shame, guilt, and other problems have less power and take up less space.

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