Theory of mind, often called mentalizing ability, is the ability to attribute mental states to other people in order to explain and predict their behavior. This ability, considered as automatic and natural, is very important for social cognition and social functioning. The importance of this ability is well seen when we analyze difficulties in social functioning of people with difficulties in mentalizing, that is people with schizophrenia. The aim of the article is to present this new perspective in research on social dysfunction in schizophrenia. Starting with presentation of contemporary definitions of social cognition which emphasize the crucial role of the theory of mind we then define what the theory of mind is and discuss methods aimed to assess the mentalizing ability. Afterwards we try to answer the question whether social dysfunction in schizophrenia can be explained as a deficit of the theory of mind. Further, we present studies of insight and effectiveness of therapy aimed to improve the ability to mentalize, and we use it as an argument that theory of mind plays a fundamental role in social functioning. In summary we focus on further perspectives for studies in social cognition.
Keywords: schizophrenia, social dysfunction, theory of mind, mentalizing
Cite this article as:
Białecka-Pikul, M., Rynda, M.(2010). Social dysfunction in schizophrenia from the perspective of social cognition. Psychologia Społeczna, 15, 345-354.