Socioaffective factors modulate working memory in schizophrenia patients.


Working memory deficit in schizophrenia is a core cognitive feature of the disorder and is reliably associated with abnormalities of the prefrontal circuitry. Working memory deficits are also associated with impaired social functioning and present a major obstacle toward successful rehabilitation in schizophrenia. Although the role of prefrontal cortex in working memory has been extensively investigated, the intricate relations among the prefrontal circuitry, working memory and social behaviors are not clearly understood. In this study, we manipulated social context and observed its effects on spatial working memory. In experiment 1, the effects of social and asocial reinforcements on spatial working memory were examined in schizophrenic patients and healthy controls. The results show that social but not asocial reinforcements facilitated spatial working memory in schizophrenic patients. In experiment 2, the effects of human voice reinforcements (with or without affect) on working memory was investigated. Voice reinforcements did not facilitate working memory relative to the no-reinforcement condition. There was no difference between high-affect vs flat-affect voice conditions. In experiment 3, the effects of direct and indirect social interactions on spatial working memory were studied. Direct but not indirect social interaction facilitated working memory in schizophrenic patients. These results suggest that social context might facilitate working memory in schizophrenic patients perhaps by activating frontal lobe systems. In addition, the possibility of improving cognitive functions such as working memory using seemingly non-cognitive methods might lead to potential remediation strategies.

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@article{Park2006SocioaffectiveFM, title={Socioaffective factors modulate working memory in schizophrenia patients.}, author={Sohee Park and Christine Gibson and T Mcmichael}, journal={Neuroscience}, year={2006}, volume={139 1}, pages={373-84} }