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Social vs. non-social measures of learning potential for predicting community functioning across phase of illness in schizophrenia.

  • Author(s): Clayson, Peter E
  • Kern, Robert S
  • Nuechterlein, Keith H
  • Knowlton, Barbara J
  • Bearden, Carrie E
  • Cannon, Tyrone D
  • Fiske, Alan P
  • Ghermezi, Livon
  • Hayata, Jacqueline N
  • Hellemann, Gerhard S
  • Horan, William P
  • Kee, Kimmy
  • Lee, Junghee
  • Subotnik, Kenneth L
  • Sugar, Catherine A
  • Ventura, Joseph
  • Yee, Cindy M
  • Green, Michael F
  • et al.

Studies demonstrate that dynamic assessment (i.e., learning potential) improves the prediction of response to rehabilitation over static measures in individuals with schizophrenia. Learning potential is most commonly assessed using neuropsychological tests under a test-train-test paradigm to examine change in performance. Novel learning potential approaches using social cognitive tasks may have added value, particularly for the prediction of social functioning, but this area is unexplored. The present study is the first to investigate whether patients with schizophrenia demonstrate social cognitive learning potential across phase of illness. This study included 43 participants at clinical high risk (CHR), 63 first-episode, and 36 chronic schizophrenia patients. Assessment of learning potential involved test-train-test versions of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (non-social cognitive learning potential) and the Facial Emotion Identification Test (social cognitive learning potential). Non-social and social cognition pre-training scores (static scores) uniquely predicted concurrent community functioning in patients with schizophrenia, but not in CHR participants. Learning potential showed no incremental explanation of variance beyond static scores. First-episode patients showed larger non-social cognitive learning potential than CHR participants and were similar to chronic patients; chronic patients and CHR participants were similar. Group differences across phase of illness were not observed for social cognitive learning potential. Subsequent research could explore whether non-social and social cognitive learning potential relate differentially to non-social versus social types of training and rehabilitation.

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