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Metamemory describes the monitoring and knowledge about one's memory capabilities. Patients with schizophrenia have been found to be less able in differentiating between correct and false answers (smaller confidence gap) when asked to provide retrospective confidence ratings in previous studies. Furthermore, higher proportions of very-high-confident but false responses have been found in this patient group (high knowledge corruption). Whether and how these biases contribute to the early pathogenesis of psychosis is yet unclear. This study thus aimed at investigating metamemory function in the early course of psychosis.
Patients in an at-risk mental state for psychosis (ARMS, n = 34), patients with a first episode of psychosis (FEP, n = 21) and healthy controls (HCs, n = 38) were compared on a verbal recognition task combined with retrospective confidence-level ratings.
FEP patients showed the smallest confidence gap, followed by ARMS patients, followed by HCs. All groups differed significantly from each other. Regarding knowledge corruption, FEP patients differed significantly from HCs, whereas a statistical trend was revealed in comparison of ARMS and FEP groups. Correlations were revealed between metamemory, measures of positive symptoms and working memory performance.
These data underline the presence of a metamemory bias in ARMS patients which is even more pronounced in FEP patients. The bias might represent an early cognitive marker of the beginning psychotic state. Longitudinal studies are needed to unravel whether metacognitive deficits predict the transition to psychosis and to evaluate therapeutic interventions.
Plotting defect locations in insulating SiC presents a challenge because the total number of locations on a wafer is so large. We scan the wafer with visible light at an appropriate resolution and sort out transmissions appropriate for the defects we are looking for. Under these conditions, we find that voids and micropipes reduce the pixel transmission to 0.3 to 0.5. Sorting for this transmission reduces the number of pixels of interest to a manageable number, especially with recent progress in growing lower defect SiC. Now a commercial plotting program can easily display defect locations within a circle representing the wafer boundary. We verify the defect locations by scanning electron microscope secondary electron images and scanning optical microscope visible-light images at several resolutions.
Schizophrenia out-patients have deficits in affective theory of mind (ToM) but also on more basal levels of social cognition, such as the processing of neutral and emotional expressions. These deficits are associated with changes in brain activation in the amygdala and the superior temporal sulcus (STS). However, until now there have been no studies that examined these different levels of social cognition and their neurobiological underpinnings in patients within one design.
Sixteen medicated schizophrenia out-patients and 16 matched healthy controls were studied with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a social cognition task that allows the investigation of affective ToM (aToM), emotion recognition and the processing of neutral facial expressions.
Patients showed a deficit in emotion recognition and a more prominent deficit in aToM. The performance in aToM and in emotion recognition was correlated in the control group but not in the schizophrenia group. Region-of-interest analysis of functional brain imaging data revealed no difference between groups during aToM, but a hyperactivation in the schizophrenia group in the left amygdala and right STS during emotion recognition and the processing of neutral facial expressions.
The results indicate that schizophrenia out-patients have deficits at several levels of social cognition and provide the first evidence that deficits on higher-order social cognitive processes in schizophrenia may be traced back to an aberrant processing of faces per se.
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