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Poster B24

Comparative Analysis of Social Cognitive Performance Across Autism Spectrum and Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders

Poster Session B - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Ayesha Rashidi1,2 (, Lindsay Oliver1, Colin Hawco1,2, George Foussias1,2, Peter Szatmari1, Robert Buchanan3, Anil Malhotra4,5,6, Meng-chuan Lai1,2,7,8,9, Aristotle Voineskos1,2, Stephanie Ameis1,2,7; 1Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 2University of Toronto, 3University of Maryland, 4The Zucker Hillside Hospital, 5The Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, 6The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, 7The Hospital for Sick Children, 8University of Cambridge, 9National Taiwan University Hospital and College of Medicine

Social cognitive deficits, notably in low-level emotion processing and high-level mental state attribution, are central to both autism spectrum disorder (autism) and schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs). Research in this area is marked by heterogeneity and small sample sizes, limiting a comprehensive understanding of these overlapping impairments. This transdiagnostic study evaluated social cognitive performance in 100 individuals with autism (16-35 years), 276 with SSDs, and 209 typically developing controls (16-55 years). Assessments included an established battery of low-level (Penn Emotion Recognition Test, ER-40; Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test, RMET) and high-level (The Awareness of Social Inference Test, TASIT; Empathic Accuracy Task, EA) social cognitive measures. Kruskal-Wallis and Dunn’s tests with FDR corrections were employed for between-group comparisons. Significant between-group differences were noted in all tasks (all p<0.001). SSDs consistently scored lower than controls (all p<0.001), whereas autistic-control differences were found for TASIT-1, TASIT-2-Simple/Paradoxical-Sarcasm and TASIT-3-Lies (all p<0.01), and ER-40 (p<0.01). Autistic individuals outperformed those with SSDs on most tasks (all p<0.001), except TASIT-1, TASIT-3-Lies, and ER-40. Different social cognitive patterns emerged among the groups. Compared to controls, SSDs showed broad impairments, aligning with prior findings of low and high-level social cognitive impairment, while autism exhibited more selective impairments on specific emotion recognition and mental-state attribution tasks. This research highlights shared, and disorder-specific patterns related to social cognitive challenges in our transdiagnostic sample, suggesting the potential efficacy of similar interventions across both disorders. Further research is needed to explore factors contributing to these differences, such as IQ and neurocognitive performance.

Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Other


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