Maj Kristoffersen Egeland
Applied clinical research
Schizophrenia; treatment and prognosis
Attachment and Theory of Mind
My PhD project
Trying out the effect of a social-cognitive training program for people with schizophrenia
We are in the process of trying out a 12-hour training program. The program focuses on identifying feelings, motives and intentions in others. The training program in use is called Training of Affect Recognition and is developed in Germany. The program has been tested with good results. We are currently recruiting and seeking people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder between 18-55 years, with schooling from Norway and who lives in Oslo or Akershus. During the exercise participant work with various tasks on a PC and also tasks with picture cards. In the first part of the program, we work with the basic feelings and recognizing emotions in faces. Later in the program we work with different intensities in emotions, identifying ambiguous facial expressions, seeing relationships between thoughts, feelings and situation and understanding social behavior through gestures and context. We want to map whether the exercise has an effect on the ability to recognize emotions and also if the training has effect on other social cognitive domains such as the ability to understand the perspective of others. We will examine if the training has impact on daily functioning and if the effects persist over time. We will also look into whether the training gives the participants the experience of being more confident in their own abilities and increased self-confidence.
It has become well known that people with schizophrenia often have cognitive difficulties. Common areas for cognitive impairment in psychosis are processing speed, verbal learning and memory, attention, working memory and executive functions. There is clear correlation between cognitive difficulties and reduced function in everyday life. Many also have difficulties with social cognition, i.e. the ability to process and use social information. The cognitive processes we use when we process information about other people have been defined as social cognition. We think that social cognition is overlapping with cognitive function, but there is also something more and something different. We want to know more about how cognitive function and social cognition are related to each other. Can one, for example, have cognitive difficulties, but not difficulties with social cognition? How much of social cognition can be explained by various types of cognitive problems? These are some of the questions I will examine in my doctorial work.
There is a growing interest in the field of research known as social cognition in psychosis realizing that social cognition has vital importance for everyday function. We also register that some people with psychosis feel that social interaction can be difficult. Some also report that they are lonelier than they want to be. These difficulties must be taken seriously in the clinic. We therefore need a treatment that sufficiently addresses these issues.
Do you want to participate or have any questions? Contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
2012-2015: Psychologist at Lovisenberg Psychiatric Hospital
2010-2011: Psychologist at Lovisenberg District Psychiatric Centre
2010: Cand. Psychol. at the Department of Psychology, UiO Spring 2010