July 15, 2006

Schizophrenia and Emotional Intelligence (Social Cognition)

Two months ago we had the opportunity to visit UCSF (University of California, San Francisco) Medical School - where one of our contributors (Demian Rose, MD, PHD) was giving his Senior talk which focused on schizophrenia. Specifically, the presentation was titled "Schizophrenia and Social Cognition" (Social Cognition, in layman terms, is very close to what is known as "emotional intelligence".) See the video below for a more complete definition.

The talk was for the staff of the medical school (and other students) so it was presented with the assumption of a reasonably high level of medical education (so this video may appeal most to students). The message is, however, hopeful and informative and the talk provides an interesting look into some cutting edge research in an area that is gaining increasing levels of attention by researchers and clinicians focused on schizophrenia.

In the early research that Demian covers, he talks about how they've seen some measurable improvement in the social "negative symptoms" of schizophrenia - merely in the process of 8 weeks of testing their patient's "social cognition" abilities - via some software programs that have been developed at UCSF and other organizations. (Note - this is an extremely preliminary result - as there were only 4 people in this initial study. However, we've talked with other researchers and read about other studies in this area and results seem to be consistent).

Here is the Video (we also included a link to it in the recent story on the passing of Syd Barrett) - it starts with a short overview of "Social Cognition" - and Demian gives an example, and then covers his research. We have two sections of Video that we've uploaded to Google Video - the first part is here and we recommend you watch it first (click on the arrow directly under the video) because it jumps directly into the content of his research - a topic that we think is probably of most interest to our viewers/readers:

Or click on the link below
Social Cognition (Emotional Intelligence) and Schizophrenia - Video

The second version of this video is below, and includes much more of a long introduction to the general area of research that Demian is working in. It starts from the very beginning of his talk and so it includes about 12 minutes of video that is before the video above, but does not include the later 15 minutes of the video above (and the video has some minor problems - with a 4 second "blue screen" in the first few minutes - but then the video continues. This is our fist attempt at editing and putting video online for our audience - and we hope to update these in the future with better quality ones.

Here is a link to the second part of the online video:

Or click on the link below:
Schizophrenia and Social Cognition (Emotional Intelligence) Presentation by Demian Rose, MD, PHD.

For a full summary of this research see the following document link: Social Cognition and Schizophrenia; a pilot intervention combining auditory processing, working memory, affect and theory of mind training. (a 2 mb pdf file).

One of the emotion recognition training software packages that they used for testing and training the people who had schizophrenia (in the study) was this: Mind Reading: The Interactive Guide to Emotions by Simon Baron-Cohen (Amazon), or read more about the program here , or purchase it direct from publisher here (price approx. $120 US). We hope that researchers look into if the use of this type of software by high risk children lowers their risk of developing schizophrenia - as research in related areas might suggest.

Another Tool that they used is Dr. Paul Eckman's training CD on emotions. It is available here for purchase: Interactive/Self-Administered Training - METT/SETT Hybrid ($49)

Let us know what you think. If you like these types of online video presentations by researchers, we'll try to add more in the future.

This presentation ties into the general area of "social stress" which has been linked as a possible causal factor in the development of schizophrenia. See this link for more information: Schizophrenia and Social Stress.


Thanks for posting these great videos--very helpful and informative on many levels.

Posted by: Ted Heaberlin at July 18, 2006 01:15 PM

It is good to see that work is being carried out in this area.
I do not suffer from schizophrenia but do have an illness that affects my E.Q.

Though of high IQ the
effects of having EQ problems have been profound and have resulted in my underachieving
as an individual.

Whether schizophrenic or not, high intelligence or not emotional intelligence deficits restrict our ability
to fulfill ourselves and contribute to society.

Posted by: Tim at July 19, 2006 05:47 AM

I certainly hope that a computer based training program will be available soon that can help the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. It thrills me to think that my son could benefit from this. His negative symptoms have taken his personality away, and I miss that part of him.

Posted by: Sharon at February 15, 2007 08:10 PM

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