Effects of Attention Training on Information Processing in Schizophrenia

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This study evaluated the impact of a cognitive retraining intervention designed to enhance the attention skills of schizophrenia patients. The dependent variables included measures of perceptual sensitivity and sustained vigilance derived from a visual continuous performance test, as well as visual span of apprehension and word-list recall. Sixteen subjects received approximately 15 hours of repeated practice with computer-mediated vigilance tasks. Seventeen subjects were assigned to a no-treatment control group. All subjects were rated on measures of negative and positive symptoms before treatment. Despite improved performance on the training tasks, no significant changes on the outcome measures were observed following treatment. Thus, it is suggested that cognitive rehabilitation interventions with schizophrenia patients stress the teaching of behavioral strategies that bypass deficits, rather than remediating deficiencies in basic abilities, such as attention.

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