Schizophrenia has been described as a self-disorder, whereas social deficits are key features of the illness. Changes in “resting state” activity of brain networks involved in self-related processing have been consistently reported in schizophrenia, but their meaning for social perception deficits remains poorly understood. Here, we applied a novel approach investigating the relationship between task-evoked neural activity during social perception and functional organization of self-related brain networks during a “resting state”. “Resting state” functional MRI was combined with task-related functional MRI using a social perception experiment. Twenty-one healthy control participants (HC) and 21 out-patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (SCH) were included. There were no significant differences concerning age, IQ, education and gender between the groups. Results showed reduced “resting state” functional connectivity between ventromedial prefrontal cortex and dorsal posterior cingulate cortex in SCH, compared to HC. During social perception, neural activity in dorsal posterior cingulate cortex and behavioral data indicated impaired congruence coding of social stimuli in SCH. Task-evoked activity during social perception in dorsal posterior cingulate cortex co-varied with dorsal posterior cingulate cortex-ventromedial prefrontal cortex functional connectivity during a “resting state” in HC, but not in SCH. Task-evoked activity also correlated with negative symptoms in SCH. These preliminary findings, showing disrupted prediction of social perception measures by “resting state” functioning of self-related brain networks in schizophrenia, provide important insight in the hypothesized link between self and social deficits. They also shed light on the meaning of “resting state” changes for tasks such as social perception.
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