The Social Cognition Psychometric Evaluation Study: Results of the Expert Survey and RAND Panel

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Background: In schizophrenia, social cognition is strongly linked to functional outcome and is increasingly seen as a viable treatment target. The goal of the Social Cognition Psychometric Evaluation (SCOPE) study is to identify and improve the best existing measures of social cognition so they can be suitably applied in large-scale treatment studies. Initial phases of this project sought to (1) develop consensus on critical domains of social cognition and (2) identify the best existing measures of social cognition for use in treatment studies. Methods: Experts in social cognition were invited to nominate key domains of social cognition and the best measures of those domains. Nominations for measures were reduced according to set criteria, and all available psychometric information about these measures was summarized and provided to RAND panelists. Panelists rated the quality of each measure on multiple criteria, and diverging ratings were discussed at the in-person meeting to obtain consensus. Results: Expert surveys identified 4 core domains of social cognition—emotion processing, social perception, theory of mind/mental state attribution, and attributional style/bias. Using RAND panel consensus ratings, the following measures were selected for further evaluation: Ambiguous Intentions Hostility Questionnaire, Bell Lysaker Emotion Recognition Task, Penn Emotion Recognition Test, Relationships Across Domains, Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test, The Awareness of Social Inferences Test, Hinting Task, and Trustworthiness Task. Discussion: While it was possible to establish consensus, only a limited amount of psychometric information is currently available for the candidate measures, which underscores the need for well-validated and standardized measures in this area.

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