You could be reading the full-text of this article now if you...

If you have access to this article through your institution,
you can view this article in

The social-cognitive basis of personality disorders

Herpertz, Sabine C.; Bertsch, Katja

Current Opinion in Psychiatry:
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000026
PERSONALITY DISORDERS: Edited by Aleksandar Janca and Charles Pull
Abstract

Purpose of review: The review summarizes recent results on abnormalities in social cognition in patients with personality disorders that predispose them to develop dysfunctional interaction with others. The review starts with more basic social cognition processes, such as emotion recognition and reactions to social exclusion that are followed by more complex processes such as cognitive and affective empathy.

Recent findings: The deficits in social cognition depend on the particular function that is investigated and is strongly associated with characteristic symptoms of particular personality disorders. Thus, patients with borderline personality disorder are hypersensitive for social threat, they show deficits in cognitive empathy and high emotion contagion, that is, they share emotions of others without properly discriminating between one's own feelings and those of others. Psychopaths are characterized by deficiency in facial fear recognition and emotional empathy similar to patients with narcissistic personality disorder. Studies on social cognition in cluster A and C personality disorders are sparse.

Summary: Research indicates deficits in social cognition in patients with personality disorders, but more research is needed to investigate social cognition in cluster A and C personality disorders and to compare deficits in social cognitive functions across personality disorders.

Author Information

Department of General Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

Correspondence to Sabine C. Herpertz, MD, Department of General Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Vossstr. 2, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany. Tel: +49 6221 5622751; e-mail: sabine.herpertz@uni-heidelberg.de

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins