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Neuroimage Clin. 2015 Aug 6;9:233-43. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2015.07.008. eCollection 2015.

Abnormalities in personal space and parietal-frontal function in schizophrenia.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA ; Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA ; Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Charlestown, MA, USA.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA ; Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Charlestown, MA, USA.
3
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA ; Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Charlestown, MA, USA ; Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
4
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA ; McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, USA.

Abstract

Schizophrenia is associated with subtle abnormalities in day-to-day social behaviors, including a tendency in some patients to "keep their distance" from others in physical space. The neural basis of this abnormality, and related changes in social functioning, is unknown. Here we examined, in schizophrenic patients and healthy control subjects, the functioning of a parietal-frontal network involved in monitoring the space immediately surrounding the body ("personal space"). Using fMRI, we found that one region of this network, the dorsal intraparietal sulcus (DIPS), was hyper-responsive in schizophrenic patients to face stimuli appearing to move towards the subjects, intruding into personal space. This hyper-responsivity was predicted both by the size of personal space (which was abnormally elevated in the schizophrenia group) and the severity of negative symptoms. In contrast, in a second study, the activity of two lower-level visual areas that send information to DIPS (the fusiform face area and middle temporal area) was normal in schizophrenia. Together, these findings suggest that changes in parietal-frontal networks that support the sensory-guided initiation of behavior, including actions occurring in the space surrounding the body, contribute to social dysfunction and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.

KEYWORDS:

Faces; Object processing; Parietal cortex; Personal space; Premotor cortex; Schizophrenia

PMID:
26484048
PMCID:
PMC4573090
DOI:
10.1016/j.nicl.2015.07.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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