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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Jan 30;185(1-2):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2010.05.022. Epub 2010 Jul 2.

Do patients with schizophrenia have a general or specific deficit in the perception of social threat? A meta-analytic study.

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  • 1Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


This study investigates whether social cognitive deficits found in patients with schizophrenia are specific to social threat stimuli, and whether the deficits increase across the delusion spectrum from a subclinical sample to clinical manifestation. The authors presented the meta-analytic review of the published literature on social threat perception performance in three kinds of group comparisons: a subclinical group and a healthy control group, a schizophrenia group and a healthy control group, and a schizophrenia with delusion symptoms group and a healthy control group. The meta-analysis of 20 studies yielded six weighted effect sizes. The largest differences were found between the schizophrenia with delusion group and the healthy controls in both the threat and non-threat conditions. No differences were found between the effect sizes in the threat-related condition and the non-threat condition in any of the three group comparisons. Age was found to be significantly correlated with the effect sizes. The performance differences in both the threat and non-threat conditions reflect a generalized performance deficit, rather than a specific deficit, in the perception of social threat stimuli among patients with schizophrenia.

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