Social cognition in 22q11.2 microdeletion syndrome: relevance to psychosis?
ABSTRACT: 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22qDS) represents one of the largest known genetic risk factors for schizophrenia. Approximately 30% of individuals with 22qDS develop psychotic illness in adolescence or young adulthood. Given that deficits in social cognition are increasingly viewed as a central aspect of idiopathic schizophrenia, we sought to investigate abilities in this domain as a predictor of psychotic symptoms in 22qDS participants. We assessed multiple domains of social and non-social cognition in 22qDS youth to: 1) characterize performance across these domains in 22qDS, and identify whether 22qDS participants fail to show expected patterns of age-related improvements on these tasks; and 2) determine whether social cognition better predicts positive and negative symptoms than does non-social cognition. Task domains assessed were: emotion recognition and differentiation, Theory of Mind (ToM), verbal knowledge, visuospatial skills, working memory, and processing speed. Positive and negative symptoms were measured using scores obtained from the Structured Interview for Prodromal Symptoms (SIPS). 22qDS participants (N=31, mean age: 15.9) showed the largest impairment, relative to healthy controls (N=31, mean age: 15.6), on measures of ToM and processing speed. In contrast to controls, 22qDS participants did not show age-related improvements on measures of working memory and verbal knowledge. Notably, ToM performance was the best predictor of positive symptoms in 22qDS, accounting for 39% of the variance in symptom severity. Processing speed emerged as the best predictor of negative symptoms, accounting for 37% of the variance in symptoms. Given that ToM was a robust predictor of positive symptoms in our sample, these findings suggest that social cognition may be a valuable intermediate trait for predicting the development of psychosis.
Project description:This research examined the relationship between psychotic symptoms, social cognition, and job retention among people with schizophrenia in Korea. Participants (158 people with schizophrenia from 15 mental health institutions) were divided into two groups: those with a job retention period of less than six months (n = 75), and those with a job retention period of six months or more (n = 83). Participants completed a survey packet containing the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), Global Assessment of Function (GAF) Scale, Interpersonal Relationship Functioning Assessment Scale, Basic Empathy Scale, Hinting Task, and Ambiguous Intention Hostility Questionnaire (AIHQ), and provided their job retention status. We used binomial logistic regression analysis to examine whether job retention was affected by participants' demographic, clinical, and vocational characteristics, as well as the three components of social cognition, i.e., theory of mind, empathy, and attribution style. Results showed that theory of mind (ToM), attribution style, and psychotic symptoms explained 52.7% of the variance in job retention. A higher theory of mind means a higher ability to grasp the intentions of others. The higher theory of mind, the lesser attribution style, and the lesser psychotic symptoms were related to a longer period of job retention.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Studies have linked cognitive functioning to everyday social functioning in psychotic disorders, but the nature of the relationships between cognition, social cognition, symptoms, and social functioning remains unestablished. Modelling the contributions of non-social and social cognitive ability in the prediction of social functioning may help in more clearly defining therapeutic targets to improve functioning.<h4>Method</h4>In a sample of 745 patients with a non-affective psychotic disorder, the associations between cognition and social cognition at baseline on the one hand, and self-reported social functioning three years later on the other, were analysed. First, case-control comparisons were conducted; associations were subsequently further explored in patients, investigating the potential mediating role of symptoms. Analyses were repeated in a subsample of 233 patients with recent-onset psychosis.<h4>Results</h4>Information processing speed and immediate verbal memory were stronger associated with social functioning in patients than in healthy controls. Most cognition variables significantly predicted social functioning at follow-up, whereas social cognition was not associated with social functioning. Symptoms were robustly associated with follow-up social functioning, with negative symptoms fully mediating most associations between cognition and follow-up social functioning. Illness duration did not moderate the strength of the association between cognitive functioning and follow-up social functioning. No associations were found between (social) cognition and follow-up social functioning in patients with recent-onset psychosis.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Although cognitive functioning is associated with later social functioning in psychotic disorder, its role in explaining social functioning outcome above negative symptoms appears only modest. In recent-onset psychosis, cognition may have a negligible role in predicting later social functioning. Moreover, social cognition tasks may not predict self-reported social functioning.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Problems in social functioning (e.g., unemployment, social isolation), are common in people with a psychotic disorder. Social cognition is a treatment target to improve social functioning, as it is a proximal predictor of social functioning. Social Cognition Training (SCT) improves social cognition, but may not generalize (enduringly) to social functioning, perhaps due to insufficient opportunity to practice in daily-life social situations. Using virtual reality (VR) for SCT could address this problem, as VR is customizable, accessible, and interactive. We will test the effect of a VR SCT, 'DiSCoVR', on social cognition and social functioning in a randomized controlled trial (RCT).<h4>Methods</h4>In total 100 people with a psychotic disorder and deficits in social cognition will be recruited for this multicenter randomized controlled trial (RCT). Participants will be randomized to VR SCT (DiSCoVR) or VR relaxation training (VRelax; active control). DiSCoVR is a 16-session individual SCT, consisting of three modules: 1) emotion perception (recognizing facial emotions in a virtual shopping street); 2) social perception and theory of mind (observing social interactions between virtual characters and assessing their behavior, emotions and thoughts); and 3) application of higher-order social cognition in social interaction (role-playing personalized situations in VR). People receiving VRelax complete sixteen individual sessions, in which they receive psycho-education about stress, identify personal stressors, learn relaxation techniques, and explore relaxing immersive virtual environments. Assessments will be performed at baseline, post-treatment, and 3-month follow-up. Primary outcomes are emotion perception (Ekman 60 Faces), social perception and theory of mind (The Awareness of Social Inference Test). Secondary outcomes include social functioning (Personal and Social Performance Scale), experiences and social interactions in daily life (experience sampling of emotions, social participation and subjective experience of social situations), psychiatric symptoms (e.g., depression, perceived stress, anxiety, positive and negative symptoms) and self-esteem.<h4>Discussion</h4>To our knowledge, this will be the first RCT testing the efficacy of VR SCT. It will also investigate generalization to daily life social situations, the durability of treatment effects, and moderators and mediators of treatment success.<h4>Trial registration</h4>On December 5, 2017, this trial was registered prospectively in the Dutch Trial Register as NTR6863 .
Project description:Deficits in social cognition are common in people with psychotic disorders and negatively impact functioning. Social Cognition Training (SCT) has been found to improve social cognition and functioning, but it is unknown which interventions are most effective, how characteristics of treatments and participants moderate efficacy, and whether improvements are durable. This meta-analysis included 46 randomized studies. SCTs were categorized according to their focus (targeted/broad-based) and inclusion of cognitive remediation therapy (CRT). Network meta-analysis was conducted, using both direct (original) and indirect (inferred from the network of comparisons) evidence. All SCT types were compared to treatment as usual (TAU; the chosen reference group). Moderators of outcome were investigated with meta-regression and long-term efficacy with multivariate meta-analysis. Compared to TAU, emotion perception was improved by targeted SCT without CRT (d = 0.68) and broad-based SCT without CRT (d = 0.46). Individual treatments worked better for emotion perception. All treatments significantly improved social perception (active control, d = 0.98, targeted SCT with and without CRT, d = 1.38 and d = 1.36, broad-based SCT with and without CRT, d = 1.45 and d = 1.35). Only broad-based SCT (d = 0.42) improved ToM. Broad-based SCT (d = 0.82 without and d = 0.41 with CRT) improved functioning; group treatments worked significantly better. Male gender was negatively related to effects on social functioning and psychiatric symptoms. At follow-up, a moderate effect on social functioning (d = 0.66) was found. No effect was found on attribution, social cognition (miscellaneous), and psychiatric symptoms. While targeted SCT is the most effective for emotion perception and social perception, broad-based SCT produces the best overall outcomes. CRT did not enhance SCT effects.
Project description:Self-stigma in mental illness is linked to negative clinical and functional outcomes, but little is known about its correlates specifically in psychotic disorders. Here we investigated the role of clinical symptoms, cognition, and vocational status as correlates of self-stigma in 98 individuals with psychotic disorders (36 Black American, 32 White Hispanic, 11 White Non-Hispanic, 11 Asian American). A principal component analysis of the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness scale yielded three components: Experiential Stigma, Stereotype Endorsement, and Stigma Resistance. Higher Experiential Stigma was associated with greater severity of affective symptoms and lower vocational status. Higher Stigma Resistance was associated with higher social and non-social cognition, and higher vocational status. Stereotype Endorsement did not significantly correlate with any predictor variable. Linear regression models showed that 13% of the variance in Experiential Stigma was explained by affective symptoms and vocational status, and 20% of the variance in Stigma Resistance was explained by non-social cognition and vocational status. These findings provide new information about the correlates of self-stigma in an ethnically and racially diverse psychotic disorder sample. Such information may lead to a better understanding of self-stigma mechanisms in this population.
Project description:Cognitive performance at illness onset may predict outcomes in first-episode psychosis (FEP), and the change in cognition may associate with clinical changes. Cognitive testing was administered to 54 FEP participants 2 months after entering treatment and to 39 participants after 1 year. We investigated whether baseline cognition predicted 1-year outcomes beyond positive, negative, and affective symptoms and whether the trajectory of cognition associated with clinical change. Baseline overall neurocognitive performance predicted the 1-year social and occupational level, occupational status, and maintaining of life goals. The domain of processing speed associated with the 1-year remission, occupational status, and maintaining of life goals. Baseline social cognition associated with occupational status a year later and the need for hospital treatment during the 1st year after FEP. Most of the associations were retained beyond baseline positive and affective symptom levels, but when accounting for negative symptoms, cognition no longer predicted 1-year outcomes, highlighting how negative symptoms overlap with cognition. The trajectory of neurocognitive performance over the year did not associate with changes in symptoms or functioning. Cognitive testing at the beginning of treatment provided information on the 1-year outcome in FEP beyond positive and affective symptom levels. In particular, the domains of processing speed and social cognition could be targets for interventions that aim to improve the outcome after FEP.
Project description:Treatment in the ultra-high risk stage for a psychotic episode is critical to the course of symptoms. Markers for the development of psychosis have been studied, to optimize the detection of people at risk of psychosis. One possible marker for the transition to psychosis is social cognition. To estimate effect sizes for social cognition based on a quantitative integration of the published evidence, we conducted a meta-analysis of social cognitive performance in people at ultra high risk (UHR).A literature search (1970-July 2015) was performed in PubMed, PsychINFO, Medline, Embase, and ISI Web of Science, using the search terms 'social cognition', 'theory of mind', 'emotion recognition', 'attributional style', 'social knowledge', 'social perception', 'empathy', 'at risk mental state', 'clinical high risk', 'psychosis prodrome', and 'ultra high risk'. The pooled effect size (Cohen's D) and the effect sizes for each domain of social cognition were calculated. A random effects model with 95% confidence intervals was used.Seventeen studies were included in the analysis. The overall significant effect was of medium magnitude (d = 0.52, 95% Cl = 0.38-0.65). No moderator effects were found for age, gender and sample size. Sub-analyses demonstrated that individuals in the UHR phase show significant moderate deficits in affect recognition and affect discrimination in faces as well as in voices and in verbal Theory of Mind (TOM). Due to an insufficient amount of studies, we did not calculate an effect size for attributional bias and social perception/ knowledge. A majority of studies did not find a correlation between social cognition deficits and transition to psychosis, which may suggest that social cognition in general is not a useful marker for the development of psychosis. However some studies suggest the possible predictive value of verbal TOM and the recognition of specific emotions in faces for the transition into psychosis. More research is needed on these subjects.The published literature indicates consistent general impairments in social cognition in people in the UHR phase, but only very specific impairments seem to predict transition to psychosis.
Project description:Social cognitive impairments, including theory of mind (ToM), in schizophrenia more strongly predict functional outcomes than psychotic symptoms or nonsocial cognitive deficits. Despite their clinical importance, current medications do not improve these deficits. The current study investigated the hypothesis that oxytocin, a neuropeptide implicated in social behavior, would normalize neural abnormalities in schizophrenia during ToM, and that this normalization would correlate improvement in ToM behavior. In this cross-over, double-blind, and placebo-controlled functional magnetic resonance imaging study, a single dose of 40?IU of oxytocin was administered via nasal spray to male individuals with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder (schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, n?=?23) and healthy controls (n?=?25). Participants completed two ToM tasks in the scanner, the False Belief and Person Description tasks. During both tasks, on placebo day, schizophrenia was associated with reduced accuracy, hypo-activity in the right temporo-parietal junction (rTPJ; extended into the posterior superior temporal sulcus), and hypo-connectivity between the rTPJ and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) compared to healthy controls. Oxytocin, relative to placebo, significantly increased accuracy and rTPJ activation for ToM but not control stories in schizophrenia. Furthermore, a significant positive correlation was found between oxytocin induced increases in rTPJ activity and accuracy, indicating that oxytocin improved rTPJ activity in schizophrenia predicted behavioral improvement. Oxytocin also significantly improved connectivity between rTPJ and mPFC in schizophrenia. These findings suggest that rTPJ activity during ToM might be a potential neural target for the treatment of social cognitive deficits in schizophrenia.
Project description:BACKGROUND:People with a psychotic disorder commonly experience problems in social cognition and functioning. Social cognition training (SCT) improves social cognition, but may inadequately simulate real-life social interactions. Virtual reality (VR) provides a realistic, interactive, customizable, and controllable training environment, which could facilitate the application of skills in daily life. OBJECTIVE:We developed a 16-session immersive VR SCT (Dynamic Interactive Social Cognition Training in Virtual Reality [DiSCoVR]) and conducted a single-group feasibility pilot study. METHODS:A total of 22 people with a psychotic disorder and reported problems in social cognition participated. Feasibility and acceptability were assessed using a survey for participants and therapists, and by examining relevant parameters (eg, dropouts). We analyzed preliminary treatment effects on social cognition, neurocognition, and psychiatric symptoms. RESULTS:A total of 17 participants completed the study. Participants enjoyed DiSCoVR (mean 7.25, SD 2.05; range 3-10), thought it was useful for daily social activities (mean 7.00, SD 2.05; range 3-10), and enjoyed the combination of VR and a therapist (mean 7.85, SD 2.11; range 3-10). The most frequently mentioned strength of DiSCoVR was the opportunity to practice with personalized social situations (14/20, 70%). A significant improvement of emotion perception was observed (Ekman 60 Faces; t16=-4.79, P<.001, d=-0.67), but no significant change was found in other measures of social cognition, neurocognition, psychiatric symptoms, or self-esteem. CONCLUSIONS:DiSCoVR was feasible and acceptable to participants and therapists, and may improve emotion perception.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Prevalence estimates of autistic traits in individuals with psychotic disorders (PD) vary greatly and it is unclear whether individuals with a familial risk (FR) for psychosis have an increased propensity to display autistic traits. Furthermore, it is unknown whether the presence of comorbid autism traits disproportionally affects the cognitive and behavioral aspects of social functioning in PD.<h4>Methods</h4>In total, 504 individuals with PD, 587 unaffected siblings with FR, and 337 typical comparison (TC) individuals (16-50 years) were included. Autistic and psychotic traits were measured with the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE). Social cognition was assessed with the Picture Sequencing Task (PST) and social behavior with the Social Functioning Scale (SFS).<h4>Results</h4>For PD 6.5% scored above AQ clinical cut-off (⩾32), 1.0% for FR, and 1.2% for TC. After accounting for age, sex, and IQ, the PD group showed significantly more autistic traits and alterations in social behavior and cognition, while FR and TC only displayed marginal differences. Within the PD group autistic traits were a robust predictor of social behavior and there were no interactions with positive psychotic symptoms.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Levels of autistic traits are substantially elevated in PD and have a profoundly negative association with social functioning. In contrast, autistic traits above the clinical cut-off are not elevated in those with FR, and only marginally on a dimensional level. These findings warrant specific clinical guidelines for psychotic patients who present themselves with autistic comorbidity to help address their social needs.