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Assessment of a six-week computer-based remediation program for social cognition in chronic schizophrenia

journal contribution
posted on 01.10.2015, 00:00 authored by Linda ByrneLinda Byrne, L Pan, M McCabe, David MellorDavid Mellor, Y Xu
Background: Programs to remediate cognitive deficits have shown promising results in schizophrenia, but remediation of social cognition deficits is less well understood. Social cognitive deficits may cause more
disability than the widely recognized neurocognitive deficits, suggesting that this is an area worthy of further
Aim: Implement and evaluate a brief computerized cognitive remediation program designed to improve memory, attention, and facial affect recognition (FAR) in outpatients with chronic schizophrenia.
Methods: Baseline assessments of FAR and of clinical, cognitive, and psychosocial functioning were completed on 20 males with schizophrenia enrolled in an outpatient rehabilitation program at the Shanghai Mental Health Center (the intervention group) and on 20 males with schizophrenia recruited from among regular outpatients at the Center (the control group). Both groups received treatment as usual, but the intervention group also completed an average of 12.7 sessions of a computer-based remediation program for neurocognitive, social, and FAR functioning over a 6-week period. The baseline measures were repeated in both groups at the end of the 6-week trial.
Results: There were no statistically significant differences in the changes in clinical symptoms (assessed by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, PANSS) or cognitive measures (assessed using the Hong Kong List Learning Test and the Letter-Number Sequencing Task) between the intervention and control groups over the 6-week trial, but there were modest improvements on the PANSS for the intervention group between
baseline and after the intervention. There was a significantly greater improvement in the social functioning measure (the Personal and Social Performance scale, PSP) in the intervention group than in the control
group. The pre-post change in the total facial recognition score in the intervention group was statistically significant (paired t-test=-2.60, p=0.018), and there was a statistical trend of a greater improvement in facial recognition in the intervention group than in the control group (F(1,37)=2.93; p=0.092).
Conclusions: Integration of FAR training with a short, computer-administrated cognitive remediation program may improve recognition of facial emotions by individuals with schizophrenia, and, thus, improve their social functioning. But more work on developing the FAR training modules and on testing them in larger, more diverse samples will be needed before this can be recommended as a standard part of cognitive remediation programs.



Shanghai archives of psychiatry






296 - 306


Editorial Office of Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry


Shanghai, China





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, Editorial Office of Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry