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Achim, Amélie M.

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Amélie M.
Université Laval. Département de psychiatrie et de neurosciences
Identifiant Canadiana

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Voici les éléments 1 - 10 sur 12
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Social cognition in first-degree relatives of people with schizophrenia : a meta-analysis
    (ScienceDirect, 2013-01-31) Achim, Amélie M.; Jackson, Philip L.; Lavoie, Marie-Audrey; Bédard Lacroix, Jacinthe; Plana, India; Godmaire-Duhaime, Florence
    Social cognition is affected in people with schizophrenia, but whether this is the case for healthy relatives of these patients is less clear. The presence of social cognition impairments in relatives would suggest a potential genetic role of social cognition in schizophrenia. To determine whether social cognition is affected in first-degree relatives of people with schizophrenia and examine the impact of potential moderator variables, a meta-analysis of studies investigating at least one domain of social cognition (mentalizing, emotional processing, social perception, social knowledge and/or attributional style) in adult first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia was performed. Our inclusion criteria were satisfied by 29 studies, of which 11 evaluated mentalizing, 20 emotional processing, and two social perception. Moderate mean effect sizes were obtained for these three components. Across all studies, effect sizes were significantly correlated with IQ and age differences between groups, calling for careful group matching for future studies. Overall, the results from this meta-analysis highlight that social cognition is globally affected in first-degree relatives of people with schizophrenia, suggesting that social cognition deficits in schizophrenia may be related to a genetic vulnerability for the disorder.
  • Publication
    Changes in visual perspective influence brain activity patterns during cognitive perspective-taking of other people's pain
    (Pergamon Press, 2016-03-22) Achim, Amélie M.; Jackson, Philip L.; Lavoie, Marie-Audrey; Vistoli, Damien
    Empathy refers to our capacity to share and understand the emotional states of others. It relies on two main processes according to existing models: an effortless affective sharing process based on neural resonance and a more effortful cognitive perspective-taking process enabling the ability to imagine and understand how others feel in specific situations. Until now, studies have focused on factors influencing the affective sharing process but little is known about those influencing the cognitive perspective-taking process and the related brain activations during vicarious pain. In the present fMRI study, we used the well-known physical pain observation task to examine whether the visual perspective can influence, in a bottom-up way, the brain regions involved in taking others' cognitive perspective to attribute their level of pain. We used a pseudo-dynamic version of this classic task which features hands in painful or neutral daily life situations while orthogonally manipulating: (1) the visual perspective with which hands were presented (first-person versus third-person conditions) and (2) the explicit instructions to imagine oneself or an unknown person in those situations (Self versus Other conditions). The cognitive perspective-taking process was investigated by comparing Other and Self conditions. When examined across both visual perspectives, this comparison showed no supra-threshold activation. Instead, the Other versus Self comparison led to a specific recruitment of the bilateral temporo-parietal junction when hands were presented according to a first-person (but not third-person) visual perspective. The present findings identify the visual perspective as a factor that modulates the neural activations related to cognitive perspective-taking during vicarious pain and show that this complex cognitive process can be influenced by perceptual stages of information processing.
  • Publication
    The study of social cognition with neuroimaging methods as a means to explore future directions of deficit evaluation in schizophrenia?
    (International Society for Neuroimaging in Psychiatry, 2010-12-23) Brunet-Gouet, Eric; Achim, Amélie M.; Jackson, Philip L.; Vistoli, Damien; Passerieux, Christine; Hardy-Baylé, Marie-Christine
    This article discusses the important advances in a recent field of science dealing with the brain processes implicated in understanding social situations and interacting with others. Many behavioral studies on schizophrenia have shown the impairment of these processes and their preferential relation with disorganization and negative syndromes. Brain imaging is a powerful method to identify brain systems participating in these processes in healthy subjects and will be used increasingly to study mental disorders such as schizophrenia. A few preliminary studies have opened this field of research and allowed for the drawing of some limited conclusions. We emphasize the importance of developing an integrated neurocognitive framework to account for the multifaceted nature of social cognition deficits in schizophrenia. Inspired by contemporary models of empathy and social cognition that identify different components such as shared representation, mentalizing, self/other distinction, we show how schizophrenia affects these components at the behavioral and functional levels. We also outline the interest of this model to understand putative abnormalities of contextual integration within the area of mentalization. Finally, we discuss how specialized measures of brain functions during the performance of these precisely defined mental processes might be used as outcome predictors.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Mentalizing in first-episode psychosis
    (Elsevier, 2012-02-27) Achim, Amélie M.; Jackson, Philip L.; Roy, Marc-André; Ouellet, Rosalie
    Mentalizing deficits have often been observed in people with schizophrenia and a few recent studies suggest that such deficits are also present in patients with first episode psychosis (FEP). It is not clear, however, whether these mentalizing deficits in FEP can be accounted for by underlying processes such as social cue recognition, social knowledge and general reasoning. In this study, we assessed mentalizing abilities in 31 people with FEP and 31 matched controls using a novel, comprehensive mentalizing task validated through the present study. We also assessed social cue recognition, social knowledge and non-social (or general) reasoning performance in the same participants in order to determine if the mentalizing deficits in FEP can be at least partly explained by performance in these three underlying processes. Overall, the mentalizing task revealed the greatest impairment in FEP, an impairment that remained significant even after controlling for social cue recognition, social knowledge and non-social reasoning performance. Interestingly, non-social reasoning and social knowledge were both shown to contribute to mentalizing performance. In addition, social cognition measures were linked to social functioning in the FEP group, with the strongest correlation observed with mentalizing performance. Taken together, these results show that mentalizing is an aspect of social cognition that is particularly affected in FEP and might contribute to functional impairments in these patients. These deficits could be a prime target for cognitive remediation in FEP, and our results suggest that this could be done either directly or through improvement of related social and non-social cognitive skills such as social knowledge and general reasoning.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Impact of traumatic brain injury on social cognition in adolescents and contribution of other higher order cognitive functions
    (Taylor & Francis Online, 2016-03-10) Achim, Amélie M.; Jackson, Philip L.; Sirois, Katia; Beauchamp, Miriam H.; Massicotte, Elsa; Vera-Estay, Evelyn; Tousignant, Béatrice; Bedell, Gary
    Social cognition impairments can contribute to social participation difficulties following traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, little attention has been given to these impairments during adolescence, a period of life when peer relationships are central. The aim of the current study was to examine the impact of a moderate to severe TBI sustained in adolescence on multiple facets of social cognition. Twenty-three adolescents who had sustained a moderate-to-severe TBI were compared with a group of 23 typically developing peers. The Integrated Social Cognition Battery (mentalising, social knowledge, emotion recognition) and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index were administered, along with non-social cognition tests (selective attention, working memory, executive functions), IQ estimation, and a socio-demographic questionnaire. Adolescents with TBI reported having a significantly lower ability to take other people's perspectives versus controls. They also presented significantly lower levels of mentalising. After controlling for non-social higher-order cognitive variables, the group effect on mentalising remained marginally significant, whereas the effect on perspective taking remained significant. Our findings suggest the presence of primary deficits in social cognition following TBI in adolescence. These deficits could partially underlie the social reintegration difficulties encountered following TBI. A systematic assessment of social cognition in clinical practice is necessary.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    The neural correlates of referential communication : taking advantage of sparse-sampling fMRI to study verbal communication with a real interaction partner
    (Academic Press, 2021-10-09) Loignon, Alexandra; Achim, Amélie M.; Fossard, Marion; Rousseau, Louis-Simon; Tremblay, Pascale; Deschamps, Isabelle; Thibaudeau, Élisabeth
    This paper introduces an innovative functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) protocol to study real verbal interactions while limiting the impact of speech-related movement artefacts. This protocol is based on a sparse sampling acquisition technique and allowed participants to complete a referential communication task with a real interaction partner. During verbal interactions, speakers adjust their verbal productions depending on their interlocutors' knowledge of the referents being mentioned. These adjustments have been linked to theory of mind (ToM), the ability to infer other's mental states. We thus sought to determine if the brain regions supporting ToM would also be activated during a referential communication task in which participants have to present movie characters that vary in their likelihood of being known by their interlocutor. This pilot study establishes that the sparse sampling strategy is a viable option to study the neural correlates of referential communication while minimizing movement artefacts. In addition, the brain regions supporting ToM were recruited during the task, though specifically for the conditions where participants could adjust their verbal productions to the interlocutor's likely knowledge of the referent. This study therefore demonstrates the feasibility and relevance of a sparse-sampling approach to study verbal interactions with fMRI, including referential communication.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Assessment of empathy in first-episode psychosis and meta-analytic comparison with previous studies in schizophrenia
    (Elsevier, 2010-12-04) Achim, Amélie M.; Jackson, Philip L.; Roy, Marc-André; Ouellet, Rosalie
    Empathy is a multidimensional construct that relies on affective and cognitive component processes. A few studies have reported impairments of both cognitive and affective empathy components in patients with schizophrenia. It is, however, not known whether these difficulties are already present at psychosis onset. The affective and cognitive components of empathy were thus assessed in 31 patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) and 31 matched healthy controls using the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI). Our results were then compared to previous studies of empathy in patients with more chronic schizophrenia via a meta-analysis. In addition, we also assessed the relationship between empathy ratings, Mentalizing performance and clinical symptoms. Contrary to what has been reported in people with more chronic schizophrenia, the IRI ratings did not significantly differ between FEP and controls in our study, though a trend was observed for the Personal distress scale. For the Perspective taking scale, our meta-analysis revealed a significantly lower effect size in this study with FEP patients relative to previous schizophrenia studies. In the FEP group, the IRI ratings were not related to positive, negative or general psychopathology symptoms, but a significant relationship emerged between the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale and Perspective taking (negative correlation). In addition, a significant positive correlation was observed between the Empathic concern subscale and our theory of mind task. This study supports the idea that the cognitive component of empathy is less affected in patients with first-episode psychosis relative to patients with more chronic schizophrenia, and the impairments reported in previous reports with more chronic populations should be interpreted in light of a possible deterioration of this cognitive skill. The findings also provide some insight into the relationship between empathy and clinical symptoms such as social anxiety.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Impact of social anxiety on social cognition and functioning in patients with recent-onset schizophrenia spectrum disorders
    (Elsevier, 2013-02-12) Achim, Amélie M.; Jackson, Philip L.; Lavoie, Marie-Audrey; Roy, Marc-André; Ouellet, Rosalie; Vallières, Chantale
    Schizophrenia patients display important rates of comorbid social anxiety disorder (SAD) but few studies have directly examined how SAD affects the presentation of schizophrenia, notably social cognition deficits and functioning. Aims : To compare social cognition performance of schizophrenia patients who meet the diagnostic criteria for a comorbid SAD (SZ +) relative to patients without such comorbidity (SZ −) and to determine if the impact of social cognition performance on functioning is moderated by that comorbidity. Method : Social cognition performance (emotion recognition, social knowledge, and mentalizing), a control non-social reasoning task, as well as clinical symptoms and functioning were assessed in 26 patients with comorbid SAD (SZ +), 29 SZ − and 84 healthy controls. Results : Patient groups significantly differed from each other on social knowledge performance, but not in levels of symptoms or overall functioning. Relative to healthy controls, SZ + were impaired uniquely on mentalizing, whereas SZ − showed a more encompassing social cognition deficit that included mentalizing, social knowledge and non-social reasoning impairments. Mentalizing was the best predictor of functioning across both patient groups. Importantly, non-social reasoning negatively influenced mentalizing and in turn functioning only in the SZ − group. Conclusions : The overall pattern of results indicates common mentalizing deficits in SZ + and SZ −; however, these deficits appear linked to different underlying deficits and different pathways to functional impact in the two patient subgroups. This study highlights some distinctive characteristics of schizophrenia patients with comorbid SAD and signals a need for further investigations into the sources of the mentalizing and functioning impairments in SZ + patients.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    A comprehensive assessment of social cognition from adolescence to adulthood
    (Jean Piaget Society, 2017-07-01) Achim, Amélie M.; Jackson, Philip L.; Sirois, Katia; Massicotte, Elsa; Tousignant, Béatrice
    While it is well accepted that the social brain undergoes prolonged development throughout the teenage years, behavioral evidence of this development from adolescence to adulthood are lacking. The current study thus investigated multiple aspects of social cognition in 30 adolescents of 12–17 years, 32 young adults of 18–21 years, and 27 adults of 22–30 years. The Integrated Social Cognition Battery (mentalizing, social knowledge, emotion recognition) and a self-reported empathy questionnaire were administered, along with non-social cognition tests (selective attention, working memory, executive functions). Adolescents’ scores were significantly lower on the cognitive empathy subscale and emotion recognition task, even while taking into account other developing non-social cognitive functions. No difference was found regarding mentalizing, social knowledge, and other aspects of empathy. The results suggest a protracted development of some components of social cognition across adolescence, while others seem to be already developed. A nuanced understanding of social cognition development is discussed.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Performance in multiple domains of social cognition in parents of patients with schizophrenia
    (Elsevier, 2014-08-01) Achim, Amélie M.; Jackson, Philip L.; Lavoie, Marie-Audrey; Bédard Lacroix, Jacinthe; Plana, India; Godmaire-Duhaime, Florence
    Social cognition refers to a set of cognitive abilities that allow us to perceive and interpret social stimuli. Social cognition is affected in schizophrenia and impairments have also been documented in unaffected relatives, suggesting that social cognition may be related to a genetic vulnerability to the disease. This study aims to investigate potential impairments in four domains of social cognition (mentalizing, emotion recognition, social knowledge and empathy) in the same group of relatives in order to gather a more complete picture of social cognition difficulties in this population. The Batterie Intégrée de Cognition Sociale (BICS) (mentalizing, emotion recognition, and social knowledge) and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) (empathy) were administered to 31 parents of patients with a psychotic disorder and 38 healthy controls. Parents of patients performed significantly worse than controls on the mentalizing test but significantly better on the social knowledge test. No significant between-group differences were observed for emotion recognition and empathy. This study is the first to evaluate four social cognition domains in this population. The results precise which social cognition processes may be impaired or preserved in unaffected relatives of patients and lead us to propose an hypothesis about a mechanism that could underlie the mentalizing difficulties observed in this population.