Sascha Qian

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Bruce Wexler


This is the first report on the correlation of social cognitive psychometrics to functional MRI regional brain activation in amygdala, fusiform gyrus, and insular cortex during passive viewing of happy, sad, and neutral faces from Gur's University of Pennsylvania series in patients with schizophrenia. Both patients and controls showed activation of bilateral amygdala, fusiform, and insular cortex compared to baseline. ROI analysis of activation maps from 14 patients and 11 matched healthy controls revealed significant differences across emotional faces in bilateral fusiform gyrus and insula, though not in amygdala. Healthy controls showed significantly higher activation in the insular cortex (p < 0.05) and in the fusiform gyrus (p < 0.05) during processing of sad compared to happy faces while patients with schizophrenia showed no significance difference. Both patients (p < 0.05) and controls (p < 0.05) had higher activation in the fusiform gyrus during processing of sad compared to neutral faces. Patients with schizophrenia scored significantly lower on SSPA, Hinting Task, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Intake, NEO agreeableness and significant higher on 6/7 BORRTI dimensions and NEO neuroticism. Factor analyses reduced to the psychometrics to 4 dimensions- social output, general social, cognitive and affective empathy, and personal distress. Of those, social output corresponded the most to patients' insular cortex activation during sad (r=-0.815, p<0.001) and neutral (r=-0.556, p<0.05) facial processing and to patients' insular (r=0.815, p<0.001) and fusiform (r=0.631, p<0.05) activation difference between happy and sad facial processing. Cognitive & affective empathy correlated to insular cortex activation difference between viewing happy and neutral faces (r=0.675, p<0.05) and personal distress corresponded to fusiform activation difference between sad and neutral (r=0.565, p<0.05). Results suggest that Social Output, having strong neural correlates, may be a useful dimension in understanding social cognition.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access