Cognition sociale et Schizophrénie: Corrélats Neuronaux et Remédiation Socio-Cognitive

Chercheurs-boursiers cliniciens - Junior 1 | Concours 2012-2013

Philippe-Olivier Harvey

Institut universitaire en santé mentale Douglas


Domaine : Neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Patients with schizophrenia typically show difficulties in perceiving and processing social information from their environment. These social cognitive deficits adversely impact community functioning in patients. This 4-year research program aims at better understanding of the nature of social cognitive deficits in schizophrenia patients and elaborating a refined psychosocial intervention targeting specific domains of social cognition that are impaired in patients. This research program involves two complementary axes. Axis 1 will focus on areas of social cognition that have not been explored in schizophrenia, and identify related neural abnormalities using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Two experimental paradigms have been selected from social neuroscience to investigate behavioral and neural abnormalities associated with: 1) the self-referential memory bias; and 2) the delivery of a social reward, i.e., social approval from peers. The axis 1 of this program should provide new insights on the neural abnormalities underlying new areas of cognition that likely impact social functioning in patients. The axis 2 of this research program is a clinical trial that aims at testing the efficacy of a newly-developed psychosocial intervention targeting specific domains of social cognition (SCI). Our 16-week SCI will be directly compared to a control skills training program that teaches patients how to prevent symptom relapses or minimize their severity. Patients will be randomly assigned to one of the two interventions. Both interventions involve 16 weekly sessions administered in a small group format. Assessments that include measures of social cognition and functioning will be administered before and after the intervention. We expect that our SCI will show efficacy in improving both social cognition and functioning compared to the control intervention.