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Schizophrenia patients are known to be impaired in their ability to process social information and to engage in social interactions. To understand better social cognition in schizophrenia, we investigate the links between these impairments. In this paper, we focus primarily on the influence of social feedback, such as facial emotions, on motor coordination during joint action. To investigate and quantify this influence, we exploited systematically-controlled social and nonsocial feedback provided by a humanoid robot. Humanoid robotics technology offers interactive designs and can precisely control the properties of the feedback provided during the interaction. In this work, a joint-action task with a robot is performed to investigate how social cognition is affected by cognitive capabilities and symptomatology. Results show that positive social feedback has a facilitatory effect on social-motor coordination in the control participants compared to nonsocial positive feedback. This facilitation effect is not present in schizophrenia patients, whose social-motor coordination is similar in social and nonsocial feedback conditions. This result is strongly correlated with performances in the Trail Making Test (TMT), which highlights the link between cognitive deficits and social-motor coordination in schizophrenia.

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Last update: 25/08/06