Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Original Article

Do clinical features relate to theory of mind, empathy and 2D:4D in schizophrenia?


Department of Neuroscience, Institute of Health Sciences, Dokuz Eylul University, İzmir, Turkey


Psychiatry, Tepecik Training and Research Hospital, İzmir, Turkey


Department of Psychiatry, Dokuz Eylul University School of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey

Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology 2017; 27: 380-385
DOI: 10.1080/24750573.2017.1373725
Read: 1010 Downloads: 539 Published: 11 February 2021

OBJECTIVE: Digit ratios may be accepted as an indicator of level of prenatal androgen exposure during the fetal developmental period. Female-typical digit ratios have been suggested to be associated with better mentalizing and empathic abilities in general population. Recently, a number of studies have investigated the ratio of hand’s second and fourth digit fingers (2D:4D) in schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to investigate the hypothesis that positive symptoms are related to female-biased 2D:4D and relatively less impaired social cognition in schizophrenia, negative dimension is related to male-biased 2D:4D ratio and more pronounced deficits in social cognition.

METHOD: The study was carried out in 48 patients with schizophrenia and 48 healthy controls. Patients were evaluated by Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). A digital caliper was used to measure 2D:4D finger lengths and social cognitive abilities were assessed using the Empathy Quotient (EQ) test and Reading Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET).

RESULTS: Patients with schizophrenia had increased left 2D:4D finger lengths and showed poor theory of mind (ToM) and empathic abilities compared to healthy controls (p < 0.05). It was found that negative symptoms but not male-biased 2D:4D ratio were significantly associated with impaired RMET performance (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: The present study indicates that negative dimension is negatively related to the severity of deficits in social cognition in schizophrenia. There was no evidence for a significant effect of sexual dimorphism as measured by digit ratio on social cognition and symptoms in schizophrenia.

EISSN 2475-0581