Research Topic

Mindreading Disorders in Psychopathology

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Difficulties in social relationship characterize different forms of psychopathology, from more severe clinical syndrome such as autism and schizophrenia to lighter forms of psychopathology such as personality disorders, depression and bipolar disorder. Impairments in developing stable and satisfying social ...

Difficulties in social relationship characterize different forms of psychopathology, from more severe clinical syndrome such as autism and schizophrenia to lighter forms of psychopathology such as personality disorders, depression and bipolar disorder. Impairments in developing stable and satisfying social relations have been related to difficulties in understanding other minds and in reflecting about their own mental lives. This general capacity to reflect upon the mind can be understood as a multicomponent set of cognitive abilities which enable us to identify mental states and to reflect upon them. These capacities have been defined as mind-reading, mentalizing, metacognitive abilities as well as social cognition. Despite several distinctions exist between the constructs, these terms are often used interchangeably as we shall do in this topic proposal.

Autism has received special attention since it involves clear deficits in mindreading. Such deficits, however, are also found in milder disorders such as depression, Bipolar and Personality Disorders (PD). The literature on these milder disorders is still very limited and fragmented. Individuals with any PDs, for example, have difficulties in diverse aspects of knowledge about mental states. Such difficulties may include the recognition of one's own and others' feelings, inferring their thoughts and intentions, empathy. Most studies have focused on Bipolar Personality Disorders (BPD), which may have produced a relevant bias in the literature, while in fact difficulties in social cognition may be a transdiagnostic problem common to PDs. Some aspects of mindreading impairments are correlated with PD severity, though specific personality features appear to have specific mindreading difficulties, for example, emotion understanding or empathy.

Some of the most important questions open to empirical research concern how different aspects of mindreading and social cognition are linked to specific aspects of psychopathologies. The aim of this Research Topic is to provide an overview of tasks which have investigated cognitive and emotional features of mindreading in different forms of psychopathology. In particular, disorders that received less attention from empirical research such as some PDs, other than BPD, depression or anxiety disorders. This Research Topic call for papers examining any aspect of the relationship between various forms of psychopathology and mindreading difficulties. Accordingly, we welcome empirical, review or theoretical papers on the relationships between these two areas of interest.


Keywords: Mindreading, Social Cognition, Personality Disfunctions, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder


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