Combining Computerized Social Cognitive Training with Neuroplasticity-Based Auditory Training in SchizophreniaAuthor(s): Stephanie Sacks, Melissa Fisher, Coleman Garrett, Phillip Alexander, Christine Holland, Demian Rose, Christine Hooker, Sophia Vinogradov
Objective: Social cognitive deficits are an important treatment target in schizophrenia, but it is unclear to what degree they require specialized interventions and which specific components of behavioral interventions are effective. In this pilot study, we explored the effects of a novel computerized neuroplasticity-based auditory training delivered in conjunction with computerized social cognition training (SCT) in patients with schizophrenia. Methods: Nineteen clinically stable schizophrenia subjects performed 50 hours of computerized exercises that place implicit, increasing demands on auditory perception, plus 12 hours of computerized training in emotion identification, social perception, and theory of mind tasks. All subjects were assessed with MATRICS-recommended measures of neurocognition and social cognition, plus a measure of self-referential source memory before and after the computerized training. Results: Subjects showed significant improvements on multiple measures of neurocognition. Additionally, subjects showed significant gains on measures of social cognition, including the MSCEIT Perceiving Emotions, MSCEIT Managing Emotions, and self-referential source memory, plus a significant decrease in positive symptoms. Conclusions: Computerized training of auditory processing/verbal learning in schizophrenia results in significant basic neurocognitive gains. Further, addition of computerized social cognition training results in significant gains in several social cognitive outcome measures. Computerized cognitive training that directly targets social cognitive processes can drive improvements in these crucial functions.