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Keywords:

  • schizophrenia;
  • theory of mind;
  • Eyes Test;
  • endophenotype;
  • genetic liability;
  • cognitive dysfunction

Objective:  The aim of this study was to investigate the possibility that ‘theory of mind’ (ToM) impairments are associated with schizophrenia liability.

Method:  Forty healthy control subjects and 79 first-degree biological relatives of schizophrenia patients (32 siblings and 47 parents) received the Eyes Test, during which subjects are asked to choose the word best describes the mental state of a person whose eyes are depicted on a photograph.

Results:  The affected relatives (n = 14) performed worse on the Eyes Test compared with the controls (P = 0.0001), whereas the unaffected relatives (n = 65) showed intact performances (P = 0.4). The Eyes Test values did not correlate with age and IQ. There was no significant difference between male and female participants.

Conclusion:  ToM deficits, as measured by the Eyes Test, are not associated with schizophrenia liability.