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Social cognition in people with schizophrenia: a cluster-analytic approach

  • P. Rocca (a1), S. Galderisi (a2), A. Rossi (a3), A. Bertolino (a4), P. Rucci (a5), D. Gibertoni (a5), C. Montemagni (a1), M. Sigaudo (a1), A. Mucci (a2), P. Bucci (a2), T. Acciavatti (a6), E. Aguglia (a7), M. Amore (a8), A. Bellomo (a9), D. De Ronchi (a10), L. Dell'Osso (a11), F. Di Fabio (a12), P. Girardi (a13), A. Goracci (a14), C. Marchesi (a15), P. Monteleone (a16), C. Niolu (a17), F. Pinna (a18), R. Roncone (a19), E. Sacchetti (a20) (a21), P. Santonastaso (a22), P. Zeppegno (a23), M. Maj (a2) and the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses...



The study aimed to subtype patients with schizophrenia on the basis of social cognition (SC), and to identify cut-offs that best discriminate among subtypes in 809 out-patients recruited in the context of the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses.


A two-step cluster analysis of The Awareness of Social Inference Test (TASIT), the Facial Emotion Identification Test and Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test scores was performed. Classification and regression tree analysis was used to identify the cut-offs of variables that best discriminated among clusters.


We identified three clusters, characterized by unimpaired (42%), impaired (50.4%) and very impaired (7.5%) SC. Three theory-of-mind domains were more important for the cluster definition as compared with emotion perception and emotional intelligence. Patients more able to understand simple sarcasm (⩾14 for TASIT-SS) were very likely to belong to the unimpaired SC cluster. Compared with patients in the impaired SC cluster, those in the very impaired SC cluster performed significantly worse in lie scenes (TASIT-LI <10), but not in simple sarcasm. Moreover, functioning, neurocognition, disorganization and SC had a linear relationship across the three clusters, while positive symptoms were significantly lower in patients with unimpaired SC as compared with patients with impaired and very impaired SC. On the other hand, negative symptoms were highest in patients with impaired levels of SC.


If replicated, the identification of such subtypes in clinical practice may help in tailoring rehabilitation efforts to the person's strengths to gain more benefit to the person.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: P. Rocca, M.D., Department of Neuroscience, Unit of Psychiatry, University of Turin, Via Cherasco 11, 10126 Turin, Italy. (Email:


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