Method: The main variables assessed were: answer to complete a target task (wrong or correctly), and percentage gain in the reaction time (RT) to complete a target task correctly depending on whether the prime was a counterfactual or a neutral-control cue. These variables were assessed in 37 patients with schizophrenia and 37 healthy controls. Potential associations with clinical status and socio-demographic characteristics were also explored.
Results: When a counterfactual prime was presented, the probability of giving an incorrect answer was lower for the entire sample than when a neutral prime was presented (OR 0.58; CI 95% 0.42 to 0.79), but the schizophrenia patients showed a higher probability than the controls of giving an incorrect answer (OR 3.89; CI 95% 2.0 to 7.6). Both the schizophrenia patients and the controls showed a similar percentage gain in RT to a correct answer of 8%.
Conclusions: Challenging the results of previous research, our findings suggest a normal activation of behavioural intentions facilitated by CFT in schizophrenia. Nevertheless, the patients showed more difficulty than the controls with the task, adding support to the concept of CFT as a potential new target for consideration in future therapeutic approaches for this illness.