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Schizophrenia patients' ability to monitor reality may be helped by computerized training
Date:2/29/2012

is real, she said. "Reality-monitoring is the ability to separate the inner world from outer reality," she explained. "It is a complex cognitive function that is impaired in schizophrenia."

In the study, the brains of 31 patients with schizophrenia and 15 healthy people used for comparison were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they performed a reality-monitoring task.

Then, 16 of the 31 patients with schizophrenia were randomly assigned to complete 80 hours of computerized training composed of auditory, visual and social cognitive exercises that included programs designed by the Posit Science Corporation. The other 15 patients with schizophrenia were assigned to play computer games for the same amount of time.

After 80 hours, all of the subjects repeated the original reality-monitoring task in the MRI scanner, to monitor brain activity associated with their ability to discern words they made up in their head (internally-generated information) from words the experimenter showed them (externally-presented information).

The reality-monitoring test consisted of a study phase and a retrieval phase. During the study phase, subjects read sentences with noun-verb-noun structures outside the scanner. These were simple sentences like: "The chicken crossed the road." During this study phase, the final word of each sentence was either presented by the scientists or it was left blank for subjects to make up and fill in themselves (e.g., "The rabbit ate the ___" to which the subject might write down, "carrot").

Then, 45 minutes later, the subjects performed the retrieval phase in the MRI scanner where their brain activity was monitored while they were shown pairs of nouns from the sentence list. They had to identify whether the second word in the noun pair was a word that they had previously generated themselves during the study phase ("rabbit-carrot") or was one that the experimenter had presented t
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Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jason.bardi@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert  

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