Objective: Social dysfunction has been well-documented in schizophrenia. Furthermore, studies of visual processing of social and affective stimuli in schizophrenia have indicated deficits in emotion discrimination, gender identification, and discriminating facial stimuli. A social attentional deficit may be contributing to these social and affective processing impairments. The authors hypothesized that individuals with schizophrenia would selectively attend to social stimuli less than healthy controls, and that various aspects of nonsocial cognition, particularly attention and processing speed, would be related to this social attentional bias. Method: The present study included 11 individuals with schizophrenia (SZ) recruited from the University of Illinois Medical District and 19 age-matched healthy controls (HC). Diagnoses were confirmed using the SCID. All study participants completed a novel 5-minute computerized dot probe task that measured their tendency to attend to social versus nonsocial visual stimuli based on reaction time. Participants also completed the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery. Results: Groups differed in their attentional biases, t(28) = 2.28, p < .05, such that HC attended toward social stimuli whereas SZ exhibited an attentional bias toward nonsocial stimuli. In HC, selectively attending toward social stimuli was significantly correlated with faster processing speed [r(22) = .41, p < .05]. In SZ, a social attentional bias was significantly correlated with better working memory [r(9) = .67, p < .05] and visual memory [r(9) = .74, p < .01], as well as processing speed [r(9) = .60, p < .06] and attention [r(8) = .59, p < .08], at trend. Conclusion: These findings have implications for interventions. In particular, cognitive remediation that targets domains found to be strongly correlated with this social attentional bias may help improve social functioning deficits in schizophrenia.
Social and Nonsocial Attention in Schizophrenia
A Bodapati, E Herbener, E Olsen, O Bjorkquist, K Chase, C Rosen, R Sharma; A-41
Social and Nonsocial Attention in Schizophrenia. Arch Clin Neuropsychol 2015; 30 (6): 501. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acv047.41
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