Altered brain long-range functional interactions underlying the link between aberrant self-experience and self-other relationship in first-episode schizophrenia

Sjoerd J H Ebisch, Dante Mantini, G. Northoff, Anatolia Salone, Domenico De Berardis, Filippo Maria Aria Ferri, Filippo Maria Aria Ferro, Massimo Di Giannantonio, Gian Luca Uca Romani, Gian Luca Uca Gallese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Self-experience anomalies are elementary features of schizophrenic pathology. Such deficits can have a profound impact on self-other relationship, but how they are related through aberrant brain function remains poorly understood. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we provide new evidence for a cortical link between aberrant selfexperience and social cognition in first-episode schizophrenia (FES). As identified in previous studies, ventral premotor cortex (vPMC) and posterior insula (pIC) are candidate brain regions underlying disturbances in both self-experience and self-other relationship due to their processing of predominantly externally guided (vPMC; goal-oriented behavior) and internally guided (pIC; interoception) stimuli. Results from functional interaction analysis in a sample of 24 FES patients and 22 healthy controls show aberrant functional interactions (background/intrinsic connectivity) of right vPMC and bilateral pIC with posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), a midline region that has been shown central in mediating self-experience. More specifically, our results show increased functional coupling between vPMC and PCC, which positively correlated with basic symptoms (subjective self-experience disturbances). pIC showed reduced functional coupling with PCC and postcentral gyrus and increased functional interactions with anterior insula. Taken together, our results suggest an imbalance in the processing between internally and externally guided information and its abnormal integration with self-referential processing as mediated by PCC. Due to our correlation findings, we suggest this imbalance to be closely related to basic symptoms in FES and thus anomalous self-experience. The findings further disentangle the cortical basis of how selfexperience anomalies may pervade the social domain. © The Author 2013.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1072-1082
Number of pages11
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Connectivity
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Posterior cingulate cortex
  • Posterior insula
  • Psychosis
  • Ventral premotor cortex
  • adult
  • anterior insula
  • article
  • BOLD signal
  • brain region
  • clinical article
  • consensus
  • controlled study
  • female
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • functional neuroimaging
  • human
  • insula
  • left hemisphere
  • male
  • personal experience
  • postcentral gyrus
  • posterior cingulate
  • posterior insula
  • posterior parietal cortex
  • premotor cortex
  • priority journal
  • right hemisphere
  • schizophrenia
  • self experience
  • social cognition
  • social interaction
  • somatosensory cortex
  • brain cortex
  • cingulate gyrus
  • connectome
  • ego
  • motor cortex
  • nuclear magnetic resonance imaging
  • pathophysiology
  • perception
  • Adult
  • Cerebral Cortex
  • Connectome
  • Ego
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social Perception


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