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Schizophr Res. 2011 Aug;130(1-3):170-5. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2011.04.023. Epub 2011 May 26.

Social cognition and neurocognition as predictors of conversion to psychosis in individuals at ultra-high risk.

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Clinical Cognitive Neuroscience Center, Neuroscience Institute, SNU-MRC, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



While deficits in cognitive functions are frequently reported in psychotic disorders, further longitudinal research is needed to confirm the specific risk factors for the development of psychosis. We examined longitudinally the social-cognitive and neurocognitive function of individuals at ultra-high risk for schizophrenia who developed psychosis later as predictive markers.


The investigators studied 49 subjects at ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis and 45 healthy controls. The UHR subjects were followed for up 5.2 years (mean: 2.8 years) and 13 of these subjects developed psychosis. Theory of mind (ToM) tasks and neuropsychological tests were administered at baseline. Analyses compared the UHR patients who later developed psychosis, those who did not develop, and healthy controls. To examine the cognitive variables to predict transition to psychosis, Cox regression analyses were conducted.


At baseline, we found significant differences among the three groups in social cognition according to the False Belief and cartoon tasks and in neurocognition according to tasks measuring executive function, working memory, verbal memory, and visual memory. Our study showed that a model combining working memory, visual memory, executive function, and ToM tasks was significantly predictive of time to conversion to psychosis.


This study indicated that UHR patients who later converted to psychosis performed more poorly on tasks involving social cognition and neurocognition than did those who did not convert. We suggest that these deficits can serve as specific markers to predict the development of psychosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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