Ms. Arshia Chatterjee
Arshia Chatterjee recently completed her MPhil in Clinical Psychology from Ranchi Institute of Neuro-psychiatry and Allied Sciences. At present I am working as a consultant Clinical Psychologist at Caring Minds in Kolkata.
My research interest includes studies of consciousness in Schizophrenia patients, studies of perceptual deficits in schizophrenia, social cognition, and meta-cognitions. I have two national and one international publications, and have presented papers at conferences in National level.
Use of technology to ameliorate underlying perceptual motor deficits to see its effect on social cognition in Schizophrenia patients.
Schizophrenia is a debilitating psychiatric disorder encompassing characteristic psychotic and non-psychotic symptoms. Deficits in social cognition is a hallmark in schizophrenia, effecting social cue perception, experience sharing, inferring other people’s thoughts and emotions, and managing emotional reactions to others. Research shows that underlying perceptual deficits contribute to the aberrations in social cognitions in Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia patients experience a range of perceptual deficits, including problems in processing auditory and visual stimuli, ability to recognize and detect human biological motion leading to the overall deficit in sensory-motor perception. Amelioration of the underlying perceptual deficits can improve processing social cues in the environment. Impaired multisensory integration in Schizophrenia is a major disadvantage in complex, information-abundant environments, with a potential negative impact on social functioning. Different psychoeducational approaches integrated with behavioral and cognitive techniques have been designed to restore social functioning. Further, studies have also been done on non-invasive cerebellar stimulation showing promising results in rehabilitation of social behavior in patients. However, there is dearth of studies using technology as a tool to train schizophrenia patients to improve their underlying perceptual deficits to see its effect on social cognition. The present study aims to bridge this lacuna by using talking pen to provide perceptual-motor skill training to schizophrenia patients to study its effect on social cognition by ameliorating underlying perceptual deficits. Talking pen is an automated digital-treatment modality that directly focuses on improving patient’s hand-eye coordination, gross-to-fine motor skills, integration of sensory modalities, and visual & auditory discrimination.
The study used a pre-post experimental design. The sample consisted of 16 individuals (8 = N experimental, 8 = N control group) from male and female in-patient units of Ranchi Institute of Neuro-Psychiatry and Allied Sciences. Both the groups were matched on sociodemographic and clinical variables. Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt test, and finger dexterity test were used for assessing perceptual-motor functions, Social cognition rating tools in Indian setting (SOCRATIS) was used for assessing social cognition, and talking pen was used to train and improve perceptual-motor skills for a period of 30 days. For statistical analysis of the data, Wilcoxon sign rank test, Mann-Whitney U test and Chi Square tests were used.
There is a significant improvement in perceptual-motor skills (p = 0.05), significant improvement was also found in higher-order theory-of-mind (p = 0.017), attribution bias (p = 0.05), and social perception (p = 0.012).
The study findings imply that technology aided intervention can bring about significant improvement in the underlying perceptual deficits in schizophrenia leading to amelioration in higher order cognitive functions like social cognition.
Keywords: perceptual deficits, talking pen, social cognition, schizophrenia.