Early motor resonance differentiates schizophrenia patients from healthy subjects and predicts social cognition performance

Urvakhsh Meherwan Mehta*, Abhishekh Hulegar Ashok, Jagadisha Thirthalli, Matcheri S. Keshavan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Diminished motor resonance (facilitation of motor potentials during action observation) is possibly related to social cognition deficits in schizophrenia. Adequate social cognition requires the successful moment-to-moment appraisal of social stimuli over a temporal window. However, similar changes in motor resonance with successive action observation stimuli are unknown. We compared the time-course of motor resonance evoked during successive action observation stimuli between schizophrenia patients (antipsychotic-naïve and medicated) and healthy subjects and examined its association with social cognition performance. Method: Fifty-four schizophrenia patients (33 antipsychotic-naive) and 45 healthy subjects underwent 10-recordings (T1 to T10) of cortical reactivity, using two single (sp)- and two paired-pulse (pp) transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) paradigms, while they observed goal-directed actions and a static image. They also underwent comprehensive social cognition assessments. Results: Sp-motor resonance revealed a significant quadratic time effect (initial fall and then rise) in patients and healthy subjects [F = 12.21, P = 0.001]. Such a pattern was not observed for pp-motor resonance. We categorized motor resonance as early (T1-T3), middle (T4-T7) and late (T8-T10) based on pair-wise comparisons. Early, but not middle or late sp-motor resonance was reduced in antipsychotic naïve patients compared to the medicated patients and healthy subjects (F = 3.41, P = 0.037). Social cognition composite score had significant correlations with both early sp-motor resonance (r = 0.34, P = 0.01) and early pp-motor resonance (r = 0.314, P = 0.02) in the combined patient group. Conclusions: Motor resonance time-courses did not vary across groups. The magnitude of early motor resonance was reduced in the antipsychotic-naïve schizophrenia group, compared to healthy subjects. Early phase motor resonance was associated with social cognition deficits in patients.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgress in Brain Research
EditorsNarayanan Srinivasan
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780444642523
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameProgress in Brain Research
ISSN (Print)0079-6123
ISSN (Electronic)1875-7855


  • Mirror neuron activity
  • Psychosis
  • Social cognition
  • Temporal sequence
  • Time course


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