Online ahead of print. The functional significance of cognitive empathy and theory of mind in early and chronic schizophrenia

Thanks for the post, You might like to see this related paper " Errant gardeners: glial-cell-dependent synaptic pruning and neurodevelopmental disorders"

Two of the takeaways of the paper (among others)

  • Autism spectrum disorders are associated with excessive synapses, autophagy and dysregulated microglial function.
  • Schizophrenia is linked to exaggerated synaptic pruning owing to elevated levels of complement proteins and microglial activation.

My understanding is there are too many synapses in ASD and too few in SCZ. Because of that, I think of ASD and SCZ as sort of opposite disorders.

Additionally, If you dig into the research they discuss SCZ reporting “more self-related aversive feelings in response to the distress of others.” Self-reported empathic abilities in schizophrenia - PubMed

Which in the context of ASD being the opposite of SCZ makes sense. ASDs have problems experiencing empathy. While an SCZ experiences too many “feelings in response to the distress of others!”

We know that empathy deficit causes devastating social problems in ASD. I guess too much empathy in SCZ will cause devastating social problems too?

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I have both apparently…

A mistake many make is to presume those with ASD have no affective empathy. That is not true. The problem can be in outwardly expressing it rather than not having it. I have a lot of affective empathy, but don’t find it easy to 'put myself in other people’s shoes (cognitive empathy)

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