All Title Author
Keywords Abstract

Not All Distraction Is Bad: Working Memory Vulnerability to Implicit Socioemotional Distraction Correlates with Negative Symptoms and Functional Impairment in Psychosis

DOI: 10.1155/2014/320948

Full-Text   Cite this paper   Add to My Lib


This study investigated implicit socioemotional modulation of working memory (WM) in the context of symptom severity and functional status in individuals with psychosis ( ). A delayed match-to-sample task was modified wherein task-irrelevant facial distracters were presented early and briefly during the rehearsal of pseudoword memoranda that varied incrementally in load size (1, 2, or 3 syllables). Facial distracters displayed happy, sad, or emotionally neutral expressions. Implicit socioemotional modulation of WM was indexed by subtracting task accuracy on nonfacial geometrical distraction trials from facial distraction trials. Results indicated that the amount of implicit socioemotional modulation of high WM load accuracy was significantly associated with negative symptoms ( , ), role functioning ( , ), social functioning ( , ), and global assessment of functioning ( , ). Specifically, greater attentional distraction of high WM load was associated with less severe symptoms and functional impairment. This study demonstrates the importance of the WM-socioemotional interface in influencing clinical and psychosocial functional status in psychosis. 1. Introduction Attentional impairments are commonly observed in psychosis [1]. A classic view of attentional distraction is that it reflects cognitive impairment, that is, reduced ability to accurately maintain information in the presence of task-irrelevant stimuli. Yet, there are real-world situations wherein attentional distraction is adaptive. Consider a dyadic social encounter wherein the communicatee’s changing facial expressions appropriately disrupt the communicator’s thoughts. Here, attentional distraction adaptively permits the communicator to modulate ongoing cognition and attend to changing facial expressions in the communicatee. In other words, effective and reciprocal social encounters are those that demonstrate flexibility whereby communicators are sensitive to the facial expressions of the communicatee and are capable of modulating ongoing thoughts to attend to the communicatee. The present study aimed to capture the adaptability of this everyday challenge and gather proof of concept evidence by examining implicit socioemotional modulation of working memory (WM) in relation to symptom severity and functional status in individuals with psychosis. We reasoned that individuals with relatively severe psychosis have a WM system that is less sensitive to the moment-to-moment modulation of socioemotional stimuli. Though individuals with psychosis have general cognitive impairments, the WM construct was


[1]  M. Fioravanti, O. Carlone, B. Vitale, M. E. Cinti, and L. Clare, “A meta-analysis of cognitive deficits in adults with a diagnosis of schizophrenia,” Neuropsychology Review, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 73–95, 2005.
[2]  Q. R. Mano, G. G. Brown, K. Bolden, R. Aupperle, M. P. Paulus, and M. B. Stein, “Curvilinear relationship between phonological working memory load and social-emotional modulation,” Cognition & Emotion, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 283–304, 2013.
[3]  K. Marwick and J. Hall, “Social cognition in schizophrenia: a review of face processing,” British Medical Bulletin, vol. 88, no. 1, pp. 43–58, 2008.
[4]  R. E. Gur, C. McGrath, R. M. Chan et al., “An fMRI study of facial emotion processing in patients with schizophrenia,” The American Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 159, no. 12, pp. 1992–1999, 2002.
[5]  A. V. Rauch, M. Reker, P. Ohrmann et al., “Increased amygdala activation during automatic processing of facial emotion in schizophrenia,” Psychiatry Research, vol. 182, no. 3, pp. 200–206, 2010.
[6]  M. van 't Wout, A. Aleman, R. P. C. Kessels, W. Cahn, E. H. F. de Haan, and R. S. Kahn, “Exploring the nature of facial affect processing deficits in schizophrenia,” Psychiatry Research, vol. 150, no. 3, pp. 227–235, 2007.
[7]  J. Hall, H. C. Whalley, J. W. McKirdy et al., “Overactivation of fear systems to neutral faces in schizophrenia,” Biological Psychiatry, vol. 64, no. 1, pp. 70–73, 2008.
[8]  D. J. Holt, L. Kunkel, A. P. Weiss et al., “Increased medial temporal lobe activation during the passive viewing of emotional and neutral facial expressions in schizophrenia,” Schizophrenia Research, vol. 82, no. 2-3, pp. 153–162, 2006.
[9]  J. Lee and S. Park, “Working memory impairments in schizophrenia: a meta-analysis,” Journal of Abnormal Psychology, vol. 114, no. 4, pp. 599–611, 2005.
[10]  M. B. First, R. L. Spitzer, M. Gibbon, and G. B. W. Williams, Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I, Research Version), Biometric Research Department, New York, NY, USA, 1996.
[11]  N. C. Andreasen, The Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS), The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA, 1983.
[12]  N. C. Andreasen, The Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS), The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA, 1984.
[13]  A. M. Auther, C. W. Smith, and B. A. Cornblatt, Global Functioning: Social Scale (GF: Social), Zucker-Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, NY, USA, 2006.
[14]  T. A. Niedam, C. E. Bearden, J. K. Johnson, and T. D. Cannon, Global Functioning: Role Scale (GF: Role), University of California, Los Angeles, Calif, USA, 2006.
[15]  R. C. W. Hall, “Global assessment of functioning: a modified scale,” Psychosomatics, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 267–275, 1995.
[16]  O. Langner, R. Dotsch, G. Bijlstra, D. H. J. Wigboldus, S. T. Hawk, and A. van Knippenberg, “Presentation and validation of the radboud faces database,” Cognition & Emotion, vol. 24, no. 8, pp. 1377–1388, 2010.
[17]  R. S. Maior, E. Hori, C. E. Uribe et al., “A role for the superior colliculus in the modulation of threat responsiveness in primates: toward the ontogenesis of the social brain,” Reviews in the Neurosciences, vol. 23, no. 5-6, pp. 697–706, 2012.
[18]  S. M. Couture, D. L. Penn, and D. L. Roberts, “The functional significance of social cognition in schizophrenia: a review,” Schizophrenia Bulletin, vol. 32, supplement 1, pp. S44–S63, 2006.
[19]  F. Dolcos, A. D. Iordan, and S. Dolcos, “Neural correlates of emotion-cognition interactions: a review of evidence from brain imaging investigations,” Journal of Cognitive Psychology, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 669–694, 2011.
[20]  F. Dolcos, A. D. Iordan, J. Kragel et al., “Neural correlates of opposing effects of emotional distraction on working memory and episodic memory: an event-related FMRI investigation,” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 1–16, 2013.
[21]  Q. R. Mano and G. G. Brown, “Cognition-emotion interactions in schizophrenia: emerging evidence on working memory load and implicit facial-affective processing,” Cognition & Emotion, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 875–899, 2013.


comments powered by Disqus