Pilot study of social cognition and interaction training (SCIT) for schizophrenia

Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
Schizophrenia Research (Impact Factor: 3.92). 01/2006; 80(2-3):357-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2005.07.011
Source: PubMed


There has been growing interest in the role of social cognition in schizophrenia. The importance of social cognition has also led to interventions that seek to improve social cognitive functioning. The authors report pilot data on a new intervention, Social Cognition and Interaction Training (SCIT). SCIT is a manual-based, group intervention designed for individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. They evaluated the feasibility of SCIT in a pilot study conducted at Dorothea Dix State Hospital. Although SCIT was designed for 18 weekly, the authors administered a small battery prior to and following SCIT. The participant's task is to indicate why the person likely acted the way s/he did and what s/he would do about it. The findings indicate trend-level reductions in symptoms and hostile and aggressive biases, as well as a statistically significant improvement in Theory of Mind performance. These findings suggest that SCIT is feasible and may yield clinical benefits, particularly in the areas of Theory of Mind and attributional style. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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    • "The present study has implications for improving treatment for schizophrenia, as both ToM and AM trainings have preliminary support as effective treatment components for individuals with schizophrenia (Choi and Kwon, 2006; Penn et al., 2005; Ricarte et al., 2012). On the basis of preliminary evidence (Langdon and Coltheart, 1999), we hypothesized a negative relationship between the magnitude of schizotypy and ToM performance and that this relationship will be limited to or notably stronger in male participants. "
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    ABSTRACT: Individuals with schizophrenia exhibit a range of cognitive impairments, including tasks assessing theory of mind (ToM) and autobiographical memory (AM). This study appears to be the first to examine how ToM and AM abilities interact in relation to schizotypy. Forty-seven undergraduate students reporting a wide continuous range of scores on the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) completed a measure of ToM and a measure assessing various phenomenological qualities of AM. Female participants exhibited a negative correlation between the ToM score and the SPQ total score and a positive correlation between enhanced phenomenological qualities of AM and the SPQ disorganized factor score. No statistically significant relationships were found for male participants. ToM was negatively correlated with AM across the entire sample, which was not moderated by sex or schizotypy. It is possible that distinct underlying mechanisms account for the observed sex differences on ToM and AM performance in schizophrenia-related conditions.
    Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease 02/2015; 203(2):96-100. DOI:10.1097/NMD.0000000000000242 · 1.69 Impact Factor
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    • "Indeed, the early signs are that conflict resolution in schizophrenia is a multi-faceted phenomenon (Kerns, 2009). Nevertheless, moving forward, a reasonable attentional control component would lend itself to remediation of responses to emotion-related conflict, based on the success of training programmes targeted at improving facial emotion interpretation through attentional shaping (Frommann et al., 2003; Penn et al., 2005, 2007; Wolwer et al., 2005; Combs et al., 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010; van der Gaag et al., 2007; Habel et al., 2010; Wolwer and Frommann, 2011) "
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    ABSTRACT: Our ability to make sense of emotional cues is of paramount importance for understanding state of mind and communicative intent. However, emotional cues often conflict with each other; this presents a significant challenge for people with schizophrenia. We conducted a theoretical review to determine the extent and types of impaired processing of emotion-related conflict in schizophrenia; we evaluated the relationship with medication and symptoms, and considered possible mediatory mechanisms. The literature established that people with schizophrenia demonstrated impaired function: (i) when passively exposed to emotion cues whilst performing an unrelated task, (ii) when selectively attending to one source of emotion cues whilst trying to ignore interference from another source, and (iii) when trying to resolve conflicting emotion cues and judge meta-communicative intent. These deficits showed associations with both negative and positive symptoms. There was limited evidence for antipsychotic medications attenuating impaired emotion perception when there are conflicting cues, with further direct research needed. Impaired attentional control and context processing may underlie some of the observed impairments. Neuroanatomical correlates are likely to involve interhemispheric transfer via the corpus callosum, limbic regions such as the amygdala, and possibly dorsolateral prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex through their role in conflict processing.
    Psychiatry Research 08/2014; 220(1-2). DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2014.07.077 · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    • "Surprisingly, however, only a few studies to date have examined the direct effects of social cognition training in young adult or early psychosis patients (Bartholomeusz et al., 2013; Eack et al., 2007; Eack et al., 2009), and none have evaluated a computerized intervention . Studies testing the effects of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy, a computer-based cognitive training with group-based social skills training (Eack et al., 2007, 2011; Eack et al., 2009) and of SCIT, a social cognitive group intervention (Combs et al., 2007; Penn et al., 2005) in first episode patients report promising effects on neurocognitive, social cognitive and functional outcome measures. However, these encouraging outcomes are limited by the practicality of applying these treatments in many clinical settings, given long treatment durations, the need for a trained clinician team, and the necessity of organizing patient groups for program delivery. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Pervasive social cognition deficits are evident early in the course of schizophrenia and are directly linked to functional outcome, making them an important target for intervention. Here, we tested the feasibility of use, and initiated the evaluation of efficacy, of a novel, neuroplasticity-based online training program (SocialVille) in young adults with schizophrenia. Methods Schizophrenia patients (n = 17) completed 24 hours of online SocialVille game play either from home or at a clinic, over a 6–10 week period. We examined training feasibility, gains on the SocialVille exercises relative to matched healthy controls (n = 17), and changes on measures of social cognition, social functioning, global functioning and motivation. Results Subjects adhered to training requirements, and rated SocialVille in the medium to high range in satisfaction, enjoyment, and ease of use. Subjects demonstrated significant, large improvements on the speeded SocialVille tasks, and small to moderate improvements on the working memory tasks. Post-training performance on the SocialVille tasks were similar to initial performance of the healthy controls. Subjects also showed improvements on standard measures of social cognition, social functioning, and motivation. No improvements were recorded for emotion recognition indices of the MSCEIT, or on quality of life scales. Conclusion This study provides an initial proof of concept for online social cognition training in schizophrenia. This form of training demonstrated feasibility and resulted in within-subject gains in social functioning and motivation. This pilot study represents a first step towards validating this training approach; randomized controlled trials, now underway, are designed to confirm and extend these findings.
    Schizophrenia Research: Cognition 03/2014; 1(1):e11–e19. DOI:10.1016/j.scog.2014.01.003
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