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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2013 Jan 10;40:207-12. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2012.09.013. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Structural neurobiological correlates of Mayer-Salovery-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test performance in early course schizophrenia.

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  • 1School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



The Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) is a key measure of social cognition in schizophrenia that has good psychometric properties and is recommended by the MATRICS committee. As a way to further investigate the validity of the MSCEIT, this study sought to examine the neurobiological correlates of MSCEIT performance in patients with early course schizophrenia.


A total of 51 patients diagnosed with early course, stabilized schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder completed structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and the MSCEIT. Investigation of the associations between MSCEIT performance and gray matter morphology was examined by conducting voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analyses across hypothesized social-cognitive regions of interest using automated anatomical labeling in Statistical Parametric Mapping Software, version 5 (SPM5). All VBM analyses utilized general linear models examining gray matter density partitioned images, adjusting for demographic and illness-related confounds. VBM results were then followed up with confirmatory volumetric analyses.


Patients with poorer overall and Facilitating, Understanding, and Managing Emotions subscale performances on the MSCEIT showed significantly reduced gray matter density in the left parahippocampal gyrus. Additionally, attenuated performance on the Facilitating and Managing Emotions subscales was significantly associated with reduced right posterior cingulate gray matter density. All associations observed between MSCEIT performance and gray matter density were supported with confirmatory gray matter volumetric analyses, with the exception of the association between the right posterior cingulate and the facilitation of emotions.


These findings provide additional evidence for the MSCEIT as a valid social-cognitive measure by elucidating its correlates with neurobiological structures commonly implicated in emotion processing. These findings provide additional biological evidence supporting the use of the MSCEIT in cognitive enhancing clinical trials in schizophrenia.

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