Scientific article
Open access

Action simulation in hallucination-prone adolescents

Published inFrontiers in human neuroscience, vol. 7, 329
Publication date2013

Theoretical and empirical accounts suggest that impairments in self-other discrimination processes are likely to promote the expression of hallucinations. Studies using a variety of paradigms involving self-performed actions argue in favor of perspective taking confusion in hallucination-prone subjects. However, our understanding of such processes during adolescence is still at an early stage. The present study thus aims (1) to delineate the neural correlates sustaining mental simulation of actions involving self-performed actions (first-person perspective; 1PP) and other-performed actions (third-person perspective; 3PP) during adolescence (2) to identify atypical activation patterns during 1PP/3PP mental simulation of actions in hallucination-prone adolescents (3) to examine whether differential risk for schizophrenia (clinical vs. genetic) is also associated with differential impairments in the 1PP/3PP mental simulation of actions during adolescence. Twenty-two typically developing controls (Control group; 6 females), 12 hallucination-prone adolescents [auditory hallucination (AH) group; 7 females] and 13 adolescents with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11.2DS group; 4 females) were included in the study. During the fMRI task, subjects were presented with a cue (self-other priming cues) indicating to perform the task using either a first person perspective ("you"-1PP) or a third person perspective ("best friend"-3PP) and then they were asked to mentally simulate actions based on the type of cue. Hallucination-proneness was assessed using a self-report questionnaire [Cardiff Anomalous Perception Scale (CAPS)]. Our results indicated that atypical patterns of cerebral activation, particularly in the key areas of self-other distinction, were found in both groups at risk for auditory hallucinations (AHs and 22q11.2DS). More precisely, adolescents in the AH group presented decreased activations in the right middle occipital gyrus BA19, left cingulate gyrus BA31, and right precuneus BA31 for the 3PP > 1PP contrast. Adolescents in the 22q11.2DS group presented decreased activations in the right superior occipital gyrus BA19, left caudate tail and left precuneus BA7 for the 3PP > 1PP contrast. In comparison to the Control group, only the 22q11.2DS adolescents showed a decreased activation for other-related cues (prime other > prime self contrast) in areas of visual imagery, episodic memory and social cognition. This study characterizes the neural correlates of mental imagery for actions during adolescence, and suggests that a differential risk for hallucination-proneness (clinical vs. genetic) is associated to similar patterns of atypical activations in key areas sustaining self-other discrimination processes. These observations may provide relevant information for future research and prevention strategies with regards to hallucination-proneness during adolescence.

  • 22q11.2
  • action simulation
  • auditory hallucinations
  • perspective-taking
Citation (ISO format)
DAHOUN, Tarik et al. Action simulation in hallucination-prone adolescents. In: Frontiers in human neuroscience, 2013, vol. 7, p. 329. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00329
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1662-5161

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