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Deficits in Mental State Attributions in Individuals with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome)

Authors

  • Jennifer S. Ho,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
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    • Equal authorship contribution of the first two authors and the two senior authors.
  • Petya D. Radoeva,

    1. Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY
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    • Equal authorship contribution of the first two authors and the two senior authors.
  • Maria Jalbrzikowski,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Carolyn Chow,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Jessica Hopkins,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Wen-Ching Tran,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Ami Mehta,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Nicole Enrique,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Chelsea Gilbert,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Kevin M. Antshel,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY
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  • Wanda Fremont,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY
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  • Wendy R. Kates,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY
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    • Equal authorship contribution of the first two authors and the two senior authors.
  • Carrie E. Bearden

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
    • Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
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    • Equal authorship contribution of the first two authors and the two senior authors.

  • This research was supported by the following grants:

    Grant sponsor: NIH/NICHD; Grant number: P50-HD-055784 (CART Pilot Project Grant to CEB)

    Grant sponsor: NIH/NIMH; Grant number: RO1 MH085953 (CEB)

    Grant sponsor: NIH/NIMH; Grant number: MH064824 (WRK)

    Grant sponsor: Autism Speaks; Grant number: 7076 (Dennis Weatherstone Pre-Doctoral Fellowship to PDR)

Address for correspondence and reprints: Carrie E. Bearden, UCLA Psychiatry &Biobehavioral Sciences, BOX 956968, 300 Medical Plaza, Rm 2267, Los Angeles, CA 90095-6968. E-mail: cbearden@mednet.ucla.edu

Abstract

Velo-cardio-facial syndrome (VCFS; 22q11.2 deletion syndrome) results from a genetic mutation that increases risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We compared Theory of Mind (ToM) skills in 63 individuals with VCFS (25% with an ASD diagnosis) and 43 typically developing controls, and investigated the relationship of ToM to reciprocal social behavior. We administered a video-based task to assess mentalizing at two sites University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University. The videos depicted interactions representing complex mental states (ToM condition), or simple movements (Random condition). Verbal descriptions of the videos were rated for Intentionality (i.e. mentalizing) and Appropriateness. Using Repeated Measures analysis of variance (ANOVA), we assessed the effects of VCFS and ASD on Intentionality and Appropriateness, and the relationship of mentalizing to Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) scores. Results indicated that individuals with VCFS overall had lower Intentionality and Appropriateness scores than controls for ToM but not for Random scenes. In the SUNY sample, individuals with VCFS, both with and without ASD, performed more poorly than controls on the ToM condition; however, in the UCLA sample, only individuals with VCFS without ASD performed significantly worse than controls on the ToM condition. Controlling for site and age, performance on the ToM condition was significantly correlated with SRS scores. Individuals with VCFS, regardless of an ASD diagnosis, showed impairments in the spontaneous attribution of mental states to abstract visual stimuli, which may underlie real-life problems with social interactions. A better understanding of the social deficits in VCFS is essential for the development of targeted behavioral interventions. Autism Res 2012, 5: 407–418. © 2012 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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