Adapting social neuroscience measures for schizophrenia clinical trials, part 3: fathoming external validity.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbt130
It is unknown whether measures adapted from social neuroscience linked to specific neural systems will demonstrate relationships to external variables. Four paradigms adapted from social neuroscience were administered to 173 clinically stable outpatients with schizophrenia to determine their relationships to functionally meaningful variables and to investigate their incremental validity beyond standard measures of social and nonsocial cognition. The 4 paradigms included 2 that assess perception of nonverbal social and action cues (basic biological motion and emotion in biological motion) and 2 that involve higher level inferences about self and others' mental states (self-referential memory and empathic accuracy). Overall, social neuroscience paradigms showed significant relationships to functional capacity but weak relationships to community functioning; the paradigms also showed weak correlations to clinical symptoms. Evidence for incremental validity beyond standard measures of social and nonsocial cognition was mixed with additional predictive power shown for functional capacity but not community functioning. Of the newly adapted paradigms, the empathic accuracy task had the broadest external validity. These results underscore the difficulty of translating developments from neuroscience into clinically useful tasks with functional significance.