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Hum Tech!
HumTec Seminar: Schizophrenia as a model of
disturbances in Non-verbal Communication
Yutaka Kato
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Keio University School of Medicine
Date: Monday 15, July, 2013
Description: Human mirror neuron system (MNS) consists of visuomotor neurons that
fire both while the subject observes the goal-directed actions performed by others and while
he himself performs similar actions. This system has raised the prospects of a "motor theory of
social cognition" whose goal is to understand other’s actions and intentions directly often
provided by its gestures as is used to non-verbal communication. Therefore the possible dysfunction of this mechanism could give rise to a certain types of neurophysiological conditions such as the disorders with social miscommunications. We have developed a novel
paradigm to investigate the human MNS using magnetoencephalography, and made a comparison fifteen normal controls with fifteen medication-free schizophrenia patients.
In normal controls, six
brain regions, bilateral MT/
V5, inferior parietal (IPC)
and premotor (PMC) cortices were sequentially activated while, the patients
with schizophrenia elicited
fewer activities in both
hemispheres, which were
more dominant in later responses from those corresponding to IPC regions.
Dysfunction of the oscillation changes both in
alpha and gamma band, which might be derived from the weaker phase-locking factors and
gamma-synchronization predominantly in right inferior parietal cortex, emerged as the
physiological correlates of the confusion of the sense of agency leading to the pathological
experiences. The symptoms of schizophrenia can be formulated as a failure to recognize the
self in action, e.g. misattributions of agency and delusions of control.