Brigitta Kakuszi1, Bálint Szuromi1, Máté Baradits1, István Bitter1, Pál Czobor1
1 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
Introduction: Social cognition is essential for interpersonal relationships, its deficits lead to disturbed social interactions. Several studies reported that recognition of basic emotions declines with age. However, while understanding of complex emotions is crucial in interpersonal relationships, only few studies investigated the processing of complex emotional states.
Aims: To study age-related changes in the recognition of complex emotions, and delineate the neurobiological background of these changes in schizophrenia and ADHD using event-related potentials.
Method: 101 subjects participated, including 21 schizophrenia and 46 ADHD patients, and 34 healthy controls. We used a 256-channel BioSemi Active-Two system to obtain high-density EEGs, and examined P200 responses during a complex visual Go/NoGo task. „Reading the mind in the eyes” test (RMET), a widely used probe of complex emotion recognition, was adopted for the assessment of social cognition. Statistical analysis was based on random-regression, with P200 amplitude as dependent and diagnostic group, %errors on the RMET and their interaction as independent variables.
Results: In all groups, the recognition of complex emotions showed a statistically significant (p<0.05) decline with age. While controls and ADHD subjects were not different in RMET-performance, schizophrenia patients exhibited significantly lower accuracy at all ages. Moreover, in each group the P200 diminished with age. Better performance was associated with less decline in P200 in the control and ADHD groups. Schizophrenia patients with good RMET-performance manifested no P200 reduction at younger ages, but evidenced pronounced reduction with age.
Conclusions:Recognition of complex emotions declines with age regardless of diagnostic boundaries. We identified an age-related P200 reduction, which was associated with lower RMET-performance in all groups. Investigation of age-related social cognitive changes may help understand age-specific symptom-manifestation and shed light for the neurobiological basis of these changes, thereby aiding the development of more specific, personalized therapies.
Funding:ÚNKP-18-3-I-SE-75NEW NATIONAL EXCELLENCE PROGRAM OF THE MINISTRY OF HUMAN CAPACITIES” HungarianBrainResearchprogram,2017-1.2.1-NKP- 2017-0002
Brigitta Kakuszi, MSc
Doctoral School: Mental Health Sciences
Program: Clinical psychology and psychiatry
Supervisor: Pál Czobor