Aberrant neural responses to social rejection in patients with schizophrenia

Hyeongrae Lee, Jeonghun Ku, Joohan Kim, Dong Pyo Jang, Kang Joon Yoon, Sun I. Kim, Jae Jin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Patients with schizophrenia often show abnormal social interactions, which may explain their social exclusion behaviors. This study aimed to elucidate patients' brain responses to social rejection in an interactive situation. Fifteen patients with schizophrenia and 16 healthy controls participated in the functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment with the virtual handshake task, in which socially interacting contents such as acceptance and refusal of handshaking were implemented. Responses to the refusal versus acceptance conditions were evaluated and compared between the two groups. Controls revealed higher activity in the refusal condition compared to the acceptance condition in the right superior temporal sulcus, whereas patients showed higher activity in the prefrontal regions, including the frontopolar cortex. In patients, contrast activities of the right superior temporal sulcus were inversely correlated with the severity of schizophrenic symptoms, whereas contrast activities of the left frontopolar cortex were positively correlated with the current anxiety scores. The superior temporal sulcus hypoactivity and frontopolar hyperactivity of patients with schizophrenia in social rejection situations may suggest the presence of mentalizing deficits in negative social situations and inefficient processes of socially aberrant stimuli, respectively. These abnormalities may be one of the neural bases of distorted or paranoid beliefs in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-423
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jul

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Correspondence should be addressed to: Sun I. Kim, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Hanyang University, 17 Sungdong Gu, Haengdang-dong, Seoul 133-605, Republic of Korea. E-mail: sunkim@hanyang.ac.kr; Jae-Jin Kim, Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University Gangnam Severance Hospital, 211 Eonjuro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 135-720, Republic of Korea. E-mail: jaejkim@yonsei.ac.kr Sun I. Kim and Jae-Jin Kim contributed equally to this paper. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government [NRF-2008-220-D00112].

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Aberrant neural responses to social rejection in patients with schizophrenia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this