Presenter Sarah Hope Lincoln is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. Integrating research in psychopathology and social neuroscience her work focuses on individual differences and experiences in social functioning that increase for psychiatric disorders. She received a BA in psychology at Wellesley College and a PhD in clinical psychology from Harvard University.
Title: The Neural Basis of Social Dysfunction in Psychotic Disorders
Abstract: Premorbid social impairment is a core characteristic of psychotic disorders. An individual’s level of social functioning before the onset of psychosis is predictive of clinical and functional outcomes, with poorer social functioning associated with increased disorder severity and overall poorer quality of life. Importantly, individuals with subthreshold psychotic symptoms experience clinically significant levels of social impairment regardless of whether they develop a psychotic disorder.
Thus, understanding the development of social dysfunction, its neural basis and behavioral presentation, and its relationship with the onset of active psychosis, is a critical target for early detection and treatment of psychosis.
One explanation for these social impairments may be disruption in the neural processes underlying social behavior.
In this talk I will present the process of simulation, the generation of an internal representation of another’s experience, as a neurobiological mechanism that may support social behavior.
I provide data indicating differences in the neurobiology of simulation between individuals at risk for psychosis and healthy young adults, as well as data suggesting that individual differences in the process of simulation may be associated with variation in social functioning.