Hypothesis & Theory ARTICLE

Front. Behav. Neurosci., 30 May 2014 | doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00171

Bridging disparate symptoms of schizophrenia: a triple network dysfunction theory

Tereza Nekovarova1,2*, Iveta Fajnerova1,3, Jiri Horacek3 and Filip Spaniel3*
  • 1Department of Neurophysiology of Memory, Institute of Physiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2Ecology and Ethology Research Group, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 3Prague Psychiatric Center, Prague, Czech Republic

Schizophrenia is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder with variable symptomatology, traditionally divided into positive and negative symptoms, and cognitive deficits. However, the etiology of this disorder has yet to be fully understood. Recent findings suggest that alteration of the basic sense of self-awareness may be an essential distortion of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. In addition, extensive research of social and mentalizing abilities has stressed the role of distortion of social skills in schizophrenia.This article aims to propose and support a concept of a triple brain network model of the dysfunctional switching between default mode and central executive network (CEN) related to the aberrant activity of the salience network. This model could represent a unitary mechanism of a wide array of symptom domains present in schizophrenia including the deficit of self (self-awareness and self-representation) and theory of mind (ToM) dysfunctions along with the traditional positive, negative and cognitive domains. We review previous studies which document the dysfunctions of self and ToM in schizophrenia together with neuroimaging data that support the triple brain network model as a common neuronal substrate of this dysfunction.

Keywords: schizophrenia, self, theory of mind, forward model, default mode network, salience network, central executive network

Citation: Nekovarova T, Fajnerova I, Horacek J and Spaniel F (2014) Bridging disparate symptoms of schizophrenia: a triple network dysfunction theory. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 8:171. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00171

Received: 29 December 2013; Accepted: 22 April 2014;
Published online: 30 May 2014.

Edited by:

Tomiki Sumiyoshi, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Japan

Reviewed by:

Jan Libiger, Charles University Medical Faculty and Faculty Hospital Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic
Rashid Zaman, University of Cambridge, UK

Copyright © 2014 Nekovarova, Fajnerova, Horacek and Spaniel. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Tereza Nekovarova, Department of Neurophysiology of Memory, Institute of Physiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Vídeňská 1083, Prague 4, 142 00, Czech Republic e-mail: tnt@biomed.cas.cz; nekovarova.tereza@gmail.com
Filip Spaniel, Prague Psychiatric Center, Ústavní 91, Prague 8, 181 03, Czech Republic e-mail: filip.spaniel@nudz.cz

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