Intrinsic Functional Connectivity in Salience and Default Mode Networks and Aberrant Social Processes in Youth at Ultra-High Risk for Psychosis.
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Social processes are key to navigating the world, and investigating their underlying mechanisms and cognitive architecture can aid in understanding disease states such as schizophrenia, where social processes are highly impacted. Evidence suggests that social processes are impaired in individuals at ultra high-risk for the development of psychosis (UHR). Understanding these phenomena in UHR youth may clarify disease etiology and social processes in a period that is characterized by significantly fewer confounds than schizophrenia. Furthermore, understanding social processing deficits in this population will help explain these processes in healthy individuals. The current study examined resting state connectivity of the salience (SN) and default mode networks (DMN) in association with facial emotion recognition (FER), an integral aspect of social processes, as well as broader social functioning (SF) in UHR individuals and healthy controls. Consistent with the existing literature, UHR youth were impaired in FER and SF when compared with controls. In the UHR group, we found increased connectivity between the SN and the medial prefrontal cortex, an area of the DMN relative to controls. In UHR youth, the DMN exhibited both positive and negative correlations with the somatosensory cortex/cerebellum and precuneus, respectively, which was linked with better FER performance. For SF, results showed that sensory processing links with the SN might be important in allowing for better SF for both groups, but especially in controls where sensory processing is likely to be unimpaired. These findings clarify how social processing deficits may manifest in psychosis, and underscore the importance of SN and DMN connectivity for social processing more generally.