0
Get Alert
Please Wait... Processing your request... Please Wait.
You must sign in to sign-up for alerts.

Please confirm that your email address is correct, so you can successfully receive this alert.

Articles   |    
Altered Brain Activation During Action Imitation and Observation in Schizophrenia: A Translational Approach to Investigating Social Dysfunction in Schizophrenia
Katharine N. Thakkar, Ph.D.; Joel S. Peterman, M.A.; Sohee Park, Ph.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2014;171:539-548. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.13040498
View Author and Article Information

The authors report no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Supported by NIMH grants R01-MH073028 to Dr. Park and F31-MH085405-01 to Dr. Thakkar; a NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Award to Dr. Park; a Rubicon grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research to Dr. Thakkar; and grant UL1 RR024975-01 from the National Center for Research Resources.

From the Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.

Presented at the 13th International Congress on Schizophrenia Research, Colorado Springs, Colo., April 2–6, 2012; and at the 24th annual meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology, Seattle, October 7–10, 2010.

Address correspondence to Dr. Park (sohee.park@vanderbilt.edu).

Copyright © 2014 by the American Psychiatric Association

Received April 12, 2013; Revised September 09, 2013; Revised November 05, 2013; Accepted November 25, 2013.

Abstract

Objective  Social impairments are a key feature of schizophrenia, but their underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Imitation, a process through which we understand the minds of others, involves the so-called mirror neuron system, a network comprising the inferior parietal lobe, inferior frontal gyrus, and posterior superior temporal sulcus. The authors examined mirror neuron system function in schizophrenia.

Method  Sixteen medicated schizophrenia patients and 16 healthy comparison subjects performed an action imitation/observation task during functional MRI. Participants saw a video of a moving hand or spatial cue and were instructed to either execute finger movements associated with the stimulus or simply observe. Activation in the mirror neuron system was measured during imitative versus nonimitative actions and observation of a moving hand versus a moving spatial cue. These contrasts were compared across groups.

Results  Activation in the mirror neuron system was less specific for imitation in schizophrenia. Relative to healthy subjects, patients had reduced activity in the posterior superior temporal sulcus during imitation and greater activity in the posterior superior temporal sulcus and inferior parietal lobe during nonimitative action. Patients also showed reduced activity in these regions during action observation. Mirror neuron system activation was related to symptom severity and social functioning in patients and to schizotypal syndrome in comparison subjects.

Conclusions  Given the role of the inferior parietal lobe and posterior superior temporal sulcus in imitation and social cognition, impaired imitative ability in schizophrenia may stem from faulty perception of biological motion and transformations from perception to action. These findings extend our understanding of social dysfunction in schizophrenia.

Abstract Teaser
Figures in this Article

Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.
Sign In Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.
Sign In to Access Full Content
 
Username
Password
Sign in via Athens (What is this?)
Athens is a service for single sign-on which enables access to all of an institution's subscriptions on- or off-site.
Not a subscriber?

Subscribe Now/Learn More

PsychiatryOnline subscription options offer access to the DSM-5 library, books, journals, CME, and patient resources. This all-in-one virtual library provides psychiatrists and mental health professionals with key resources for diagnosis, treatment, research, and professional development.

Need more help? PsychiatryOnline Customer Service may be reached by emailing PsychiatryOnline@psych.org or by calling 800-368-5777 (in the U.S.) or 703-907-7322 (outside the U.S.).

FIGURE 1. Cortical Network Involved in Action Imitation

FIGURE 2. Task Stimuli and Example Trial Sequence in a Study of Brain Activation During Action Imitation and Observation in Schizophrenia

FIGURE 3. Differences in BOLD Activation Between Schizophrenia Patients (N=16) and Healthy Comparison Subjects (N=16) During Imitative and Nonimitative Action Executiona

a BOLD=blood-oxygen-level-dependent.

FIGURE 4. Differences in BOLD Activation Between Schizophrenia Patients (N=16) and Healthy Comparison Subjects (N=16) During Observation of Animated and Nonanimated Motiona

a BOLD=blood-oxygen-level-dependent.

Anchor for Jump
TABLE 1.Demographic and Clinical Information for Participants in an fMRI Study of Brain Activation During Action Imitation and Observation in Schizophreniaa
Table Footer Note

a The patient group contained seven women and nine men, and the healthy group contained five women and 11 men (no significant difference between groups). All patients were medicated, 11 with atypical antipsychotics (olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, aripiprazole, and clozapine), four with conventional antipsychotics (haloperidol, thiothixene, and fluphenazine), and one with an antidepressant and an anticonvulsant (venlafaxine and oxcarbazepine). The mean antipsychotic dosage was 294.2 mg/day of chlorpromazine equivalents (SD=254.6).

Table Footer Note

b Based on a modified Edinburgh Handedness Inventory; scores can range from –100 (completely left-handed) to +100 (completely right-handed).

Table Footer Note

c Based on the North American Adult Reading Test.

Anchor for Jump
TABLE 2.Peak Talairach Coordinates of Significant Within- and Between-Group Brain Activations During Action Imitation and Observation in Schizophrenia Patients (N=16) and Healthy Comparison Subjects(N=16)
+

References

Green  MF;  Penn  DL;  Bentall  R;  Carpenter  WT;  Gaebel  W;  Gur  RC;  Kring  AM;  Park  S;  Silverstein  SM;  Heinssen  R:  Social cognition in schizophrenia: an NIMH workshop on definitions, assessment, and research opportunities.  Schizophr Bull 2008; 34:1211–1220
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Cannon  TD;  Cadenhead  K;  Cornblatt  B;  Woods  SW;  Addington  J;  Walker  E;  Seidman  LJ;  Perkins  D;  Tsuang  M;  McGlashan  T;  Heinssen  R:  Prediction of psychosis in youth at high clinical risk: a multisite longitudinal study in North America.  Arch Gen Psychiatry 2008; 65:28–37
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Brüne  M:  “Theory of mind” in schizophrenia: a review of the literature.  Schizophr Bull 2005; 31:21–42
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Meltzoff  AN;  Moore  MK:  Imitation of facial and manual gestures by human neonates.  Science 1977; 198:75–78
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Chartrand  TL;  Bargh  JA:  The chameleon effect: the perception-behavior link and social interaction.  J Pers Soc Psychol 1999; 76:893–910
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Carruthers  P;  Smith  PK (eds):  Theories of Theory of Mind .  Cambridge, UK,  Cambridge University Press, 1996
 
Iacoboni  M:  Neural mechanisms of imitation.  Curr Opin Neurobiol 2005; 15:632–637
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Iacoboni  M;  Woods  RP;  Brass  M;  Bekkering  H;  Mazziotta  JC;  Rizzolatti  G:  Cortical mechanisms of human imitation.  Science 1999; 286:2526–2528
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Grossman  ED;  Blake  R:  Brain areas active during visual perception of biological motion.  Neuron 2002; 35:1167–1175
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Carter  CS;  Barch  DM;  Buchanan  RW;  Bullmore  E;  Krystal  JH;  Cohen  J;  Geyer  M;  Green  M;  Nuechterlein  KH;  Robbins  T;  Silverstein  S;  Smith  EE;  Strauss  M;  Wykes  T;  Heinssen  R:  Identifying cognitive mechanisms targeted for treatment development in schizophrenia: an overview of the first meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia Initiative.  Biol Psychiatry 2008; 64:4–10
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Smith  IM;  Bryson  SE:  Imitation and action in autism: a critical review.  Psychol Bull 1994; 116:259–273
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Williams  JH;  Waiter  GD;  Gilchrist  A;  Perrett  DI;  Murray  AD;  Whiten  A:  Neural mechanisms of imitation and “mirror neuron” functioning in autistic spectrum disorder.  Neuropsychologia 2006; 44:610–621
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Ingersoll  B;  Schreibman  L:  Teaching reciprocal imitation skills to young children with autism using a naturalistic behavioral approach: effects on language, pretend play, and joint attention.  J Autism Dev Disord 2006; 36:487–505
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Schwartz  BL;  Mastropaolo  J;  Rosse  RB;  Mathis  G;  Deutsch  SI:  Imitation of facial expressions in schizophrenia.  Psychiatry Res 2006; 145:87–94
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Matthews  N;  Gold  BJ;  Sekuler  R;  Park  S:  Gesture imitation in schizophrenia.  Schizophr Bull 2013; 39:94–101
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Park  S;  Matthews  N;  Gibson  C:  Imitation, simulation, and schizophrenia.  Schizophr Bull 2008; 34:698–707
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Varcin  KJ;  Bailey  PE;  Henry  JD:  Empathic deficits in schizophrenia: the potential role of rapid facial mimicry.  J Int Neuropsychol Soc 2010; 16:621–629
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Kim  J;  Park  S;  Blake  R:  Perception of biological motion in schizophrenia and healthy individuals: a behavioral and FMRI study.  PLoS ONE 2011; 6:e19971
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Overall  JE;  Gorham  DR:  The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale.  Psychol Rep 1962; 10:799–812
[CrossRef]
 
Andreasen  NC:  Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS) .  Iowa City,  University of Iowa, 1984
 
Andreasen  NC:  Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS) .  Iowa City,  University of Iowa, 1983
 
Blair  JR;  Spreen  O:  Predicting premorbid IQ: a revision of the national Adult Reading Test.  Clin Neuropsychol 1989; 3:129136
[CrossRef]
 
Oldfield  RC:  The assessment and analysis of handedness: the Edinburgh inventory.  Neuropsychologia 1971; 9:97–113
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Birchwood  M;  Smith  J;  Cochrane  R;  Wetton  S;  Copestake  S:  The Social Functioning Scale: the development and validation of a new scale of social adjustment for use in family intervention programmes with schizophrenic patients.  Br J Psychiatry 1990; 157:853–859
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Raine  A:  The SPQ: a scale for the assessment of schizotypal personality based on DSM-III-R criteria.  Schizophr Bull 1991; 17:555–564
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Nelissen  K;  Borra  E;  Gerbella  M;  Rozzi  S;  Luppino  G;  Vanduffel  W;  Rizzolatti  G;  Orban  GA:  Action observation circuits in the macaque monkey cortex.  J Neurosci 2011; 31:3743–3756
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Selemon  LD;  Goldman-Rakic  PS:  Common cortical and subcortical targets of the dorsolateral prefrontal and posterior parietal cortices in the rhesus monkey: evidence for a distributed neural network subserving spatially guided behavior.  J Neurosci 1988; 8:4049–4068
[PubMed]
 
Koski  L;  Iacoboni  M;  Mazziotta  JC:  Deconstructing apraxia: understanding disorders of intentional movement after stroke.  Curr Opin Neurol 2002; 15:71–77
[PubMed]
 
Galati  G;  Committeri  G;  Sanes  JN;  Pizzamiglio  L:  Spatial coding of visual and somatic sensory information in body-centred coordinates.  Eur J Neurosci 2001; 14:737–746
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Völlm  BA;  Taylor  AN;  Richardson  P;  Corcoran  R;  Stirling  J;  McKie  S;  Deakin  JFW;  Elliott  R:  Neuronal correlates of theory of mind and empathy: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study in a nonverbal task.  Neuroimage 2006; 29:90–98
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Torrey  EF:  Schizophrenia and the inferior parietal lobule.  Schizophr Res 2007; 97:215–225
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Crow  TJ:  Is schizophrenia the price that Homo sapiens pays for language? Schizophr Res 1997; 28:127–141
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Guo  S;  Kendrick  KM;  Yu  R;  Wang  HL;  Feng  J:  Key functional circuitry altered in schizophrenia involves parietal regions associated with sense of self.  Hum Brain Mapp 2014; 35:123–139
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Hoffman  RE:  A social deafferentation hypothesis for induction of active schizophrenia.  Schizophr Bull 2007; 33:1066–1070
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Catmur  C;  Walsh  V;  Heyes  C:  Associative sequence learning: the role of experience in the development of imitation and the mirror system.  Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2009; 364:2369–2380
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Feinberg  I:  Efference copy and corollary discharge: implications for thinking and its disorders.  Schizophr Bull 1978; 4:636–640
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Chambon  V;  Pacherie  E;  Barbalat  G;  Jacquet  P;  Franck  N;  Farrer  C:  Mentalizing under influence: abnormal dependence on prior expectations in patients with schizophrenia.  Brain 2011; 134:3728–3741
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Platek  SM;  Critton  SR;  Myers  TE;  Gallup  GG:  Contagious yawning: the role of self-awareness and mental state attribution.  Brain Res Cogn Brain Res 2003; 17:223–227
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
References Container
+
+

CME Activity

There is currently no quiz available for this resource. Please click here to go to the CME page to find another.
Submit a Comments
Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discertion of APA editorial staff.

* = Required Field
(if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
Example: John Doe



Related Content
See Also...
Articles
Books
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychopharmacology, 4th Edition > Chapter 10.  >
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychopharmacology, 4th Edition > Chapter 51.  >
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychopharmacology, 4th Edition > Chapter 10.  >
The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychopharmacology, 4th Edition > Chapter 10.  >
Textbook of Traumatic Brain Injury, 2nd Edition > Chapter 6.  >
Topic Collections
Psychiatric News
APA Guidelines
PubMed Articles