Data_Sheet_3_The mirror mechanism in schizophrenia: A systematic review and qualitative meta-analysis.pdf (448.61 kB)

Data_Sheet_3_The mirror mechanism in schizophrenia: A systematic review and qualitative meta-analysis.pdf

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posted on 2022-09-21, 04:44 authored by Amir Valizadeh, Mathew Mbwogge, Anita Rasouli Yazdi, Nazanin Hedayati Amlashi, Ainaaz Haadi, Monir Shayestefar, Mana Moassefi

Mirror neuron system (MNS) consists of visuomotor neurons that are responsible for the mirror neuron activity (MNA), meaning that each time an individual observes another individual performing an action, these neurons encode that action, and are activated in the observer's cortical motor system. Previous studies report its malfunction in autism, opening doors to investigate the underlying pathophysiology of the disorder in a more elaborate way and coming up with new rehabilitation methods. The study of MNA function in schizophrenia patients has not been as frequent and conclusive as in autism. In this research, we aimed to evaluate the functional integrity of MNA and the microstructural integrity of MNS in schizophrenia patients.


We included case-control studies that have evaluated MNA in schizophrenia patients compared to healthy controls using a variety of objective assessment tools. In August 2022, we searched Embase, PubMed, and Web of Science for eligible studies. We used an adapted version of the NIH Quality Assessment of Case-Control Studies tool to assess the quality of the included studies. Evidence was analyzed using vote counting methods of the direction of the effect and was tested statistically using the Sign test. Certainty of evidence was assessed using CERQual.


We included 32 studies for the analysis. Statistical tests revealed decreased MNA (p = 0.002) in schizophrenia patients. The certainty of the evidence was judged to be moderate. Investigations of heterogeneity revealed a possible relationship between the age and the positive symptoms of participants in the included studies and the direction of the observed effect.


This finding contributes to gaining a better understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of the disorder by revealing its possible relation to some of the symptoms in schizophrenia patients, while also highlighting a new commonality with autism.

Systematic review registration

PROSPERO identifier: CRD42021236453.


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