Social phobia linked to autism and schizophrenia
Monday 11 December 2017
- Research shows those who find social situations difficult have similar brain responses to those with schizophrenia or autism
- Autism and schizophrenia have varying degrees of many different symptoms meaning symptoms present as non-clinical traits
New Swinburne research shows that people who find social situations difficult tend to have similar brain responses to those with schizophrenia or autism.
The research, published in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, found the areas of the brain that show increased response when exposed to unexpected speech sounds or ‘phonemes’ are associated with the processing of social information and linked with spectrum conditions such as autism or schizophrenia. “This suggests that for people who find social situations difficult, their brain may be processing social information inefficiently,” says lead researcher and Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Talitha Ford. “Autism and schizophrenia are multi-dimensional and spectrum conditions, which means they have varying degrees of many different symptoms, so much so, these symptoms present as non-clinical traits in the general population,” she says. She explains that key features of both conditions are interpersonal and social difficulties, and different brain responses to changes in the environment. “This study shows that brain responses to changes in the environment might be more closely related to the interpersonal and social difficulties experienced by those with schizophrenia and autism.”