Research Topic

Negative Symptoms and Cognitive Impairment in Schizophrenia-Spectrum Disorders

About this Research Topic

Cognitive deficits and negative symptoms are core features of schizophrenia, which predate the onset of the disorder and independently contribute to poor real-life functioning. Unlike positive symptoms, cognitive dysfunction and negative symptoms often show an insufficient response to antipsychotics, and might improve with cognitive remediation and other psychosocial intervention, such as social skills training. Several lines of evidence indicate a relationship between cognitive dysfunction and negative symptoms, including moderate to strong correlations between the two dimensions, co-occurrence in some individuals since early childhood, associations with similar structural and functional brain abnormalities. However, the evidence is not always coherent and in some instances remains controversial.

Recently a causal link between cognitive impairment and negative symptoms was hypothesized. Recent findings indicate that both negative symptoms and cognitive impairment might include heterogeneous domains. In fact, factor analytic studies have identified at least 2 negative symptom domains which demonstrate different functional correlates and might have distinct pathophysiological mechanisms. Furthermore, social and non-social cognitive deficits, though strongly associated, have separate functional correlates and possibly different risk factors and pathophysiology.

Furthermore, negative symptoms might be primary to the disorder or secondary to other domains of impairment, such as positive symptoms, depression, extrapyramidal symptoms, and social deprivation. Relationships between cognitive deficits and negative symptoms have seldom been investigated considering the heterogeneity within each dimension.

The Research Topic is aimed at collecting new evidence, critical reappraisal of the findings as well as comprehensive reviews concerning the relationships of each negative symptom domain with social and non-social cognitive dysfunction. In the past, both negative symptoms and cognitive impairment have been linked to recent progress in
psychiatry and neuroscience. We aim to integrate information on neuroimaging and genomics to provide a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying negative symptoms and cognitive impairment in schizophrenia.

This Research Topic welcomes systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the associations of social and non-social cognitive deficits with negative symptom domains in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, as well as original papers on common pathophysiological mechanisms or response to antipsychotic and psychosocial treatments. Particularly welcome will be papers concerning the relationships of primary negative symptom domains with cognitive impairment and specifically with social and non-social cognitive deficits.

The subtopics include, but are not limited to:

- Expressive negative symptom domain / Blunted affect / Alogia and Cognitive impairment – Associations, common and distinct functional correlates, response to treatment and possible overlapping pathophysiological mechanisms
- Experiential negative symptom domain / Avolition / Asociality / Anhedonia and Social and Non-Social Cognitive impairment – Associations, common and distinct functional correlates, response to treatment and possible overlapping pathophysiological mechanisms


Keywords: Blunted Affect, Alogia, Anhedonia, Avolition, Asociality, Cognitive Impairment, Social Cognition, Neurocognition


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Cognitive deficits and negative symptoms are core features of schizophrenia, which predate the onset of the disorder and independently contribute to poor real-life functioning. Unlike positive symptoms, cognitive dysfunction and negative symptoms often show an insufficient response to antipsychotics, and might improve with cognitive remediation and other psychosocial intervention, such as social skills training. Several lines of evidence indicate a relationship between cognitive dysfunction and negative symptoms, including moderate to strong correlations between the two dimensions, co-occurrence in some individuals since early childhood, associations with similar structural and functional brain abnormalities. However, the evidence is not always coherent and in some instances remains controversial.

Recently a causal link between cognitive impairment and negative symptoms was hypothesized. Recent findings indicate that both negative symptoms and cognitive impairment might include heterogeneous domains. In fact, factor analytic studies have identified at least 2 negative symptom domains which demonstrate different functional correlates and might have distinct pathophysiological mechanisms. Furthermore, social and non-social cognitive deficits, though strongly associated, have separate functional correlates and possibly different risk factors and pathophysiology.

Furthermore, negative symptoms might be primary to the disorder or secondary to other domains of impairment, such as positive symptoms, depression, extrapyramidal symptoms, and social deprivation. Relationships between cognitive deficits and negative symptoms have seldom been investigated considering the heterogeneity within each dimension.

The Research Topic is aimed at collecting new evidence, critical reappraisal of the findings as well as comprehensive reviews concerning the relationships of each negative symptom domain with social and non-social cognitive dysfunction. In the past, both negative symptoms and cognitive impairment have been linked to recent progress in
psychiatry and neuroscience. We aim to integrate information on neuroimaging and genomics to provide a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying negative symptoms and cognitive impairment in schizophrenia.

This Research Topic welcomes systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the associations of social and non-social cognitive deficits with negative symptom domains in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, as well as original papers on common pathophysiological mechanisms or response to antipsychotic and psychosocial treatments. Particularly welcome will be papers concerning the relationships of primary negative symptom domains with cognitive impairment and specifically with social and non-social cognitive deficits.

The subtopics include, but are not limited to:

- Expressive negative symptom domain / Blunted affect / Alogia and Cognitive impairment – Associations, common and distinct functional correlates, response to treatment and possible overlapping pathophysiological mechanisms
- Experiential negative symptom domain / Avolition / Asociality / Anhedonia and Social and Non-Social Cognitive impairment – Associations, common and distinct functional correlates, response to treatment and possible overlapping pathophysiological mechanisms


Keywords: Blunted Affect, Alogia, Anhedonia, Avolition, Asociality, Cognitive Impairment, Social Cognition, Neurocognition


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 July 2021 Abstract
30 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 July 2021 Abstract
30 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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