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01.12.2017 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 1/2017

Understanding others: a pilot investigation of cognitive and affective facets of social cognition in patients with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS)

Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2017
D. Badoud, M. Schneider, S. Menghetti, B. Glaser, M. Debbané, S. Eliez



Although significant impairments in the affective and cognitive facets of social cognition have been highlighted in patients with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) in previous studies, these domains have never been investigated simultaneously within the same group of participants. Furthermore, despite theoretical evidence, associations between these two processes and schizotypal symptoms or social difficulties in this population have been scarcely examined.


Twenty-nine participants with 22q11DS and 27 typically developing controls (N = 5 siblings; N = 22 unrelated controls) aged between 11 and 21 years participated in the study. Both groups were matched for age and gender distribution. Two computerized social cognition tasks evaluating perspective and emotion recognition abilities were administered to all participants. The levels of schizotypal trait expression and social functioning were further investigated in both groups, based on a validated self-report questionnaire (Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire) and parental interview (Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales).


Participants with 22q11DS exhibited lower perspective-taking and emotion recognition capacities than typically developing controls. The two socio-cognitive dimensions investigated here were further correlated in healthy controls. The efficiency of perspective-taking processes (response time) was marginally related to the degree of schizotypal trait expression in patients with 22q11DS.


This study first provides support for significant deficits in two core facets of social cognition in 22q11DS. The associations observed between the experimental tasks and measures of social functioning or schizotypal symptoms in 22q11DS open promising research avenue, which should be more deeply investigated in future studies.
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