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Expert Rev Neurother. 2012 Jan;12(1):71-81. doi: 10.1586/ern.11.183.

Potential therapeutic avenues to tackle social cognition problems in schizophrenia.

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  • 1International Graduate School of Neuroscience, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.


Therapeutic strategies for improving social cognition in patients with schizophrenia have shown much promise in improving social functioning, as well as remediating core psychotic symptoms. However, the efficacy of previous interventions has often been limited by the ambiguity and inconsistency of the categorized subdomains of social cognition, including theory of mind, emotion processing, social perception and attributional bias. Recent research in social and cognitive neuroscience has revealed many new issues that could contribute to the development of more integrated approaches for improving social functioning. The application of such neuroscientific work to a therapeutic and diagnostic context is likely to encourage more effective transference of learned skills to real-world social functioning. This article seeks to provide a comprehensive review of previous social cognitive interventions for schizophrenia, highlight some crucial limitations of these and present the relevance of recent advances in neuroscientific research in possible future treatment strategies. It is emphasized that a more integrated and naturalistic approach for improving social functioning with greater sensitivity for neuroscientific findings related to the psychopathology of schizophrenia is warranted.

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