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Study compares traits of autism, schizophrenia
Date:2/28/2012

developing effective treatments. What works well for individuals with ASD might be very different than those with schizophrenia."

In previous research, Sasson and his colleagues used eye-tracking technology and found that neither adults with ASD nor adults with schizophrenia look at social information in the same way as those without either disorder. His colleagues also found that parts of the brain that process social information are underactive in those with ASD and schizophrenia. But the researchers have also found differences. Individuals with ASD do not spontaneously orient to emotional information, while individuals with schizophrenia do. While both groups show aspects of paranoia in social situations, Sasson and his colleagues are discovering that the root cause of the paranoia is different for each disorder.

"People with schizophrenia have a much higher likelihood than the general population to attribute ill will to others, and this is likely tied to their delusions," he said. "On the other hand, people with autism are more 'socially cynical.' They seem to be exhibiting fairly realistic responses to people as a result of the challenges they've faced in life because of their condition."

By differentiating between schizophrenia and autism, and by examining how patients react in social settings, Sasson said he hopes researchers can develop new ways to counteract the negative social experiences of patients. This could result in a profound improvement in their ability to navigate life successfully.


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Contact: Emily Martinez
emily.martinez@utdallas.edu
214-905-3049
University of Texas at Dallas
Source:Eurekalert

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