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J Psychiatr Res. 2013 Nov;47(11):1581-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.07.029. Epub 2013 Aug 23.

Temporal lobe and inferior frontal gyrus dysfunction in patients with schizophrenia during face-to-face conversation: a near-infrared spectroscopy study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Gunma University of Graduate School of Medicine, 3-39-22 Showa, Maebashi, Gunma 371-8511, Japan. Electronic address:


Schizophrenia (SC) is marked by poor social-role performance and social-skill deficits that are well reflected in daily conversation. Although the mechanism underlying these impairments has been investigated by functional neuroimaging, technical limitations have prevented the investigation of brain activation during conversation in typical clinical situations. To fill this research gap, this study investigated and compared frontal and temporal lobe activation in patients with SC during face-to-face conversation. Frontal and temporal lobe activation in 29 patients and 31 normal controls (NC) (n = 60) were measured during 180-s conversation periods by using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). The grand average values of oxyhemoglobin concentration ([oxy-Hb]) changes during task performance were analyzed to determine their correlation with clinical variables and Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) subscores. Compared to NCs, patients with SC exhibited decreased performance in the conversation task and decreased activation in both the temporal lobes and the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) during task performance, as indicated by the grand average of [oxy-Hb] changes. The decreased activation in the left temporal lobe was negatively correlated with the PANSS disorganization and negative symptoms subscores and that in the right IFG was negatively correlated with illness duration, PANSS disorganization, and negative symptom subscores. These findings indicate that brain dysfunction in SC during conversation is related to functional deficits in both the temporal lobes and the right IFG and manifests primarily in the form of disorganized thinking and negative symptomatology.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Face-to-face conversation; Near-infrared spectroscopy; Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale; Schizophrenia; Social cognition; Talk

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