Surface based MRI methods offer the possibility to characterize cortical shape parameters in vivo. They allow to separately investigate cortical thickness, area and gyrification and thus permit to elucidate the exact nature of cerebral structural alterations in mental disorders. Cortical shape parameters are considered to reflect integrity of brain development and might therefore constitute endophenotypical markers for a disrupted corticogenesis in neurodevelopmental diseases such as schizophrenia. Relating phenotypical parameters (e.g. psychopathology) to these endophenotypical cortical shape parameters might shed light on underlying mechanism of phenotypical heterogeneity in mental disorders and might open new perspectives for targeted therapeutic approaches.