Introduction: Findings from the literature consistently revealed episodic memory deficits in adolescents with psychosis. However, the nature of the dysfunction remains unclear. Based on a cognitive neuropsychological approach, a theoretically driven paradigm was used to generate valid interpretations about the underlying memory processes impaired in these patients.
Methods: A total of 16 inpatient adolescents with psychosis and 19 individually matched controls were assessed using an experimental task designed to measure memory for source and temporal context of studied words. Retrospective confidence judgements for source and temporal context responses were also assessed.
Results: On word recognition, patients had more difficulty than controls discriminating target words from neutral distractors. In addition, patients identified both source and temporal context features of recognised items less often than controls. Confidence judgements analyses revealed that the difference between the proportions of correct and incorrect responses made with high confidence was lower in patients than in controls. In addition, the proportion of high-confident responses that were errors was higher in patients compared to controls.
Conclusions: These findings suggest impaired relational binding processes in adolescents with psychosis, resulting in a difficulty to create unified memory representations. Our findings on retrospective confidence data point to impaired monitoring of retrieved information that may also impair memory performance in these individuals.