Studies examining the processing of threat-related information in schizophrenia suggest that patients may show intact abilities to detect nonsocial threats despite impaired processing of social threat. The present study examined potential differences between social and nonsocial threat detection abilities in schizophrenia via two analogous threat perception tasks: one that used nonsocial threat (i.e., snakes) and one that used social threat (i.e., angry faces). Both tasks have reliably demonstrated a threat superiority effect (TSE) among healthy individuals in which threat-related stimuli are detected more accurately and efficiently than non-threat-related stimuli. Results from 30 healthy controls and 35 individuals with schizophrenia indicated that control participants showed a normative TSE on both the nonsocial and social tasks. In contrast, patients showed a TSE on only the nonsocial task, demonstrating intact detection abilities for nonsocial threat but impaired detection of social threats. The discrepant performance across nonsocial and social threat detection tasks within the patient group is consistent with evidence indicating that social and nonsocial information processing can be differentially affected in schizophrenia.
Background:In schizophrenia, social cognition is strongly linked to functional outcome and is increasingly seen as a viable treatment target. The goal of the Social Cognition Psychometric Evaluation (SCOPE) study is to identify and improve the best existing measures of social cognition so they can be suitably applied in large-scale treatment studies. Initial phases of this project sought to (1) develop consensus on critical domains of social cognition and (2) identify the best existing measures of social cognition for use in treatment studies.Methods:Experts in social cognition were invited to nominate key domains of social cognition and the best measures of those domains. Nominations for measures were reduced according to set criteria, and all available psychometric information about these measures was summarized and provided to RAND panelists. Panelists rated the quality of each measure on multiple criteria, and diverging ratings were discussed at the in-person meeting to obtain consensus.Results:Expert surveys identified 4 core domains of social cognition-emotion processing, social perception, theory of mind/mental state attribution, and attributional style/bias. Using RAND panel consensus ratings, the following measures were selected for further evaluation: Ambiguous Intentions Hostility Questionnaire, Bell Lysaker Emotion Recognition Task, Penn Emotion Recognition Test, Relationships Across Domains, Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test, The Awareness of Social Inferences Test, Hinting Task, and Trustworthiness Task.Discussion:While it was possible to establish consensus, only a limited amount of psychometric information is currently available for the candidate measures, which underscores the need for well-validated and standardized measures in this area.
This study estimated the ASD prevalence in a psychiatric hospital and evaluated the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) combined with other information for differential diagnosis. Chart review, SRS and clinical interviews were collected for 141 patients at one hospital. Diagnosis was determined at case conference. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to evaluate the SRS as a screening instrument. Chi-squared Automatic Interaction Detector (CHAID) analysis estimated the role of other variables, in combination with the SRS, in separating cases and non-cases. Ten percent of the sample had ASD. More than other patients, their onset was prior to 12 years of age, they had gait problems and intellectual disability, and were less likely to have a history of criminal involvement or substance abuse. Sensitivity (0.86) and specificity (0.60) of the SRS were maximized at a score of 84. Adding age of onset < 12 years and cigarette use among those with SRS <80 increased sensitivity to 1.00 without lowering specificity. Adding a history substance abuse among those with SRS >80 increased specificity to 0.90 but dropped sensitivity to 0.79. Undiagnosed ASD may be common in psychiatric hospitals. The SRS, combined with other information, may discriminate well between ASD and other disorders.
A considerable body of literature has reported on emotion perception deficits and the relevance of these impairments in persons with depression and bipolar disorder. Fifty-one studies published between 1981-February 2009 were examined regarding emotion perception abilities between patient and control groups, and potential methodological, demographic and clinical moderators. Studies were identified through a computerized literature search of the MEDLINE, PsychINFO, and PubMed databases. The Meta-analysis Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) standard (Stroup et al., 2000) was followed in the extraction of relevant studies and data. Data on emotion perception, methodology, demographic and clinical characteristics were compiled and analyzed using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis version 2.0 (Biostat, 2005). The meta-analysis revealed a moderate deficit in emotion perception in both bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder, irrespective of task type, diagnosis, age of onset/duration of illness, sex, and hospitalization status. Several factors that moderated the observed impairment include self-reported depression, age at time of testing, and years of education. Emotion perception impairment in bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder represents a moderate and stable deficit that appears to be moderated by a limited number of demographic and clinical factors.
Negative symptoms in schizophrenia include diminished ability to communicate, motivate, and socialize as potentially debilitating aspects of the illness that are associated with long-term impairment. Despite such burden, the domain has been underrepresented in drug development and treatment research. In this article, we review research regarding pharmacotherapy for negative symptoms, with a focus on studies published during the past 2 years. Clearly positive studies were limited to N-methyl-D-aspartate agonists, while antipsychotics and antidepressants did not show substantial benefit, and cognitive enhancers have yielded mixed results. Proof-of-concept studies of other agents such as minocycline and omega fatty acids yielded promising, albeit preliminary findings that warrant replication. Study outcomes and designs are discussed along with implications for future research.
Impaired facial emotion expression is central to schizophrenia. Extensive work has quantified these differences, but it remains unclear how patient expressions are perceived by their healthy peers and other non-trained individuals. This study examined how static facial expressions of posed and evoked emotions of patients and controls are recognized by naïve observers.
A considerable body of literature has reported on emotion perception deficits and the relevance to clinical symptoms and social functioning in schizophrenia. Studies published between 1970-2007 were examined regarding emotion perception abilities between patient and control groups and potential methodological, demographic, and clinical moderators. DATA SOURCES AND REVIEW: Eighty-six studies were identified through a computerized literature search of the MEDLINE, PsychINFO, and PubMed databases. A quality of reporting of meta-analysis standard was followed in the extraction of relevant studies and data. Data on emotion perception, methodology, demographic and clinical characteristics, and antipsychotic medication status were compiled and analyzed using Comprehensive Meta-analysis Version 2.0 (Borenstein M, Hedges L, Higgins J and Rothstein H. Comprehensive Meta-analysis. 2. Englewood, NJ: Biostat; 2005).
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