Boosting the Theory of Mind Network: Specific Psychotherapy Increases Neural Correlates of Affective Theory of Mind in Euthymic Bipolar Disorder

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung


  • Kristina Meyer - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Autor:in)
  • Catherine Hindi Attar - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Autor:in)
  • Jana Fiebig - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Autor:in)
  • Thomas Stamm - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Medizinische Hochschule Brandenburg Theodor Fontane (Autor:in)
  • Tyler R. Bassett - , Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus Dresden (Autor:in)
  • Michael Bauer - , Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie (Autor:in)
  • Udo Dannlowski - , Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (Autor:in)
  • Thomas Ethofer - , Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (Autor:in)
  • Irina Falkenberg - , Philipps-Universität Marburg (Autor:in)
  • Andreas Jansen - , Philipps-Universität Marburg (Autor:in)
  • Georg Juckel - , Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Autor:in)
  • Tilo Kircher - , Philipps-Universität Marburg (Autor:in)
  • Christoph Mulert - , Justus Liebig University Giessen (Autor:in)
  • Gregor Leicht - , Universität Hamburg (Autor:in)
  • Anne Rau - , Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (Autor:in)
  • Dirk Ritter - , Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie (Autor:in)
  • Philipp Ritter - , Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie (Autor:in)
  • Sarah Trost - , Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Universitäre Altersmedizin FELIX PLATTER (Autor:in)
  • Christoph Vogelbacher - , Philipps-Universität Marburg (Autor:in)
  • Henrik Walter - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Autor:in)
  • Sarah Wolter - , Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg (Autor:in)
  • Martin Hautzinger - , Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (Autor:in)
  • Felix Bermpohl - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Autor:in)


Background: In bipolar disorder, impaired affective theory of mind (aToM) performance and aberrant neural activation in the ToM brain network partly explain social functioning impairments. However, it is not yet known whether psychotherapy of bipolar disorder influences neuroimaging markers of aToM. Methods: In this study, conducted within the multicentric randomized controlled trial of the BipoLife consortium, patients with euthymic bipolar disorder underwent 2 group interventions over 6 months (mean = 28.45 weeks): 1) a specific, cognitive behavioral intervention (specific psychotherapeutic intervention [SEKT]) (n = 31) targeting impulse regulation, ToM, and social skills and 2) an emotion-focused intervention (FEST) (n = 28). To compare the effect of SEKT and FEST on neural correlates of aToM, patients performed an aToM task during functional magnetic resonance imaging before and after interventions (final functional magnetic resonance imaging sample of pre- and postcompleters, SEKT: n = 16; FEST: n = 17). Healthy control subjects (n = 32) were scanned twice with the same time interval. Because ToM was trained in SEKT, we expected an increased ToM network activation in SEKT relative to FEST postintervention. Results: Both treatments effectively stabilized patients’ euthymic state in terms of affective symptoms, life satisfaction, and global functioning. Confirming our expectations, SEKT patients showed increased neural activation within regions of the ToM network, bilateral temporoparietal junction, posterior cingulate cortex, and precuneus, whereas FEST patients did not. Conclusions: The stabilizing effect of SEKT on clinical outcomes went along with increased neural activation of the ToM network, while FEST possibly exerted its positive effect by other, yet unexplored routes.


Seiten (von - bis)572-580
FachzeitschriftBiological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Mai 2023

Externe IDs

PubMed 36087699
ORCID /0000-0003-4286-5830/work/149796280
ORCID /0000-0002-2666-859X/work/149797556



  • Bipolar Disorder, Neural correlates of Psychotherapy, Social cognition, Theory of Mind, ToM network, fMRI