Schizophrenia research

Social skills training and computer-assisted cognitive remediation in schizophrenia.

PMID 25640526


A growing body of research shows that cognitive remediation (COG REM), consisting of drill-and-practice and/or strategy training in neurocognitive functions, produces moderate improvements in neurocognition. These improvements generalize to functioning when COG REM is provided with other rehabilitation interventions (Wykes et al., 2011). The number of studies using COG REM as an adjunct to other behavioral-based rehabilitation interventions however remains small and consists of widely varying interventions with few active control conditions. This study compared the effects of an extended (6-month), standardized, computer-assisted cognitive remediation intervention, administered along with a standardized program of social skills-training (SST), with those of an active control condition that included participation in the same SST program and a computer skills training program (Computer Skills). Sixty-four individuals with schizophrenia recruited from two treatment sites were randomly assigned to one of two conditions and were assessed by blinded raters on neurocognitive measures, performance-based measures of social skill, and ratings of psychosocial function before and after treatment. Results revealed that the COG REM group improved significantly more in attention, working memory, and empathy than the Computer Skills group, but there were no differences between groups on other measures of psychosocial functioning or skills. Taken together, these findings suggest that COG REM used in the context of other evidence-based psychosocial interventions (SST) improves working memory in schizophrenia and suggests that this effect may generalize to improved empathy.