Why schizophrenia leads to social isolation

Green will deliver UCLA’s 123rd Faculty Research Lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 25. The lecture, titled “The Human Social Brain: How it Works and How it Goes Awry in Schizophrenia and the General Population,” is based on his lab’s explorations of the relationship between cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and activities of daily living. The Green lab is part of the Semel Institute and the Department of Veterans Affairs VISN 22 Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center.

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that affects about 1 percent of the population. Its symptoms can include delusions, hallucinations, trouble with thinking and concentration, and lack of motivation. Green has pursued many research questions in the course of his career, but perhaps the biggest puzzle is why most people with schizophrenia do not function very well in the community.

In his lecture, Green will describe how his lab uses discoveries in psychology and social neuroscience about normal brain functioning to inform his schizophrenia research. “For example, there’s a system involved when we can feel other people’s pain. When we see someone in distress there’s an automatic reaction where we feel connected. That’s part of empathy,” he said.

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