Theory-of-mind use in remitted schizophrenia patients: The role of inhibition and perspective-switching

Yong Guang Wang, Jian Fei Shi, David L. Roberts, Xiao Ying Jiang, Zhi Hua Shen, Yi Quan Wang, kai Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In social interaction, Theory of Mind (ToM) enables us to construct representations of others' mental states, and to use those representations flexibly to explain or predict others' behavior. Although previous literature has documented that schizophrenia is associated with poor ToM ability, little is known about the cognitive mechanisms underlying their difficulty in ToM use. This study developed a new methodology to test whether the difficulty in false-belief-use might be related to deficits in perspective-switching or impaired inhibitory control among 23 remitted schizophrenia patients and 18 normal controls. Patients showed a significantly greater error rate in a perspective-switching condition than a perspective-repeating position in a false-belief-use task, whereas normal controls did not show a difference between the two conditions. In addition, a larger main effect of inhibition was found in remitted schizophrenia patients than normal controls in both a false-belief-use task and control task. Thus, remitted schizophrenia patients' impairment in ToM use might be accounted for, at least partially, by deficits in perspective-switching and impaired inhibitory control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-339
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 30 2015


  • False belief
  • Inhibitory control
  • Perspective-switching
  • Referential communication task
  • Schizophrenia
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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