Social-cognitive remediation in schizophrenia: generalization of effects of the Training of Affect Recognition (TAR)

Schizophr Bull. 2011 Sep;37 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):S63-70. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbr071.


In the last decade, several social cognitive remediation programs have been developed for use in schizophrenia. Though existing evidence indicates that such programs can improve social cognition, which is essential for successful social functioning, it remains unclear whether the improvements generalize to social cognitive domains not primarily addressed by the intervention and whether the improved test performance transfers into everyday social functioning. The present study investigated whether, beyond its known effects on facial affect recognition, the Training of Affect Recognition (TAR) has effects on prosodic affect recognition, theory of mind (ToM) performance, social competence in a role-play task, and more general social and occupational functioning. Thirty-eight inpatients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were randomly assigned to 6 weeks of treatment with the TAR--primarily targeted at facial affect recognition-or Cognitive Remediation Training (CRT)--primarily targeted at neurocognition. Intention-to-treat analyses found significantly larger pre-post improvements with TAR than with CRT in prosodic affect recognition, ToM, and social competence and a trend effect in global social functioning. However, the effects on ToM and social competence were no longer significant in the smaller group of patients who completed treatment according to protocol. Results suggest that TAR effects generalize to other social cognitive domains not primarily addressed. TAR may also enhance social skills and social functioning, although this has to be confirmed. Results are discussed with regard to the need to improve functional outcome in schizophrenia against the background of current evidence from other social cognitive remediation approaches.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect* / physiology
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction
  • Facial Expression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Occupations
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Recognition, Psychology* / physiology
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenia / therapy*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Social Adjustment
  • Theory of Mind
  • Treatment Outcome