Southern Methodist University
What is the focus of the lab’s research program?
The primary focus of our research program is to understand how the brain processes social information, how these processes may be abnormal in individuals with schizophrenia and related disorders, and how these abnormalities may affect the daily lives of individuals with mental illness. By examining these questions, we hope to gather information that can be used to develop treatments that target brain and behavioral functioning.
How do we study Social Cognition and Schizophrenia?
We use a variety of measures including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and an eye-tracking device. We also use standard neurocognitive and social cognition measures.
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that affects about 1.1 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. People with schizophrenia sometimes hear voices others don’t hear, believe that others are broadcasting their thoughts to the world, or become convinced that others are plotting to harm them. These experiences can make them fearful and withdrawn and cause difficulties when they try to have relationships with others. (retrieved on 8/11/2010 from National Institute of Mental Health Website http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml
What is Social Cognition?
Social Cognition refers to many abilities, most notably emotion perception, social perception, theory of mind, and attributional style. Taken together, these abilities allow us to navigate the social world. Deficits in social cognition and social functioning may profoundly affect a person’s ability to maintain employment and negatively affect interpersonal relationships.
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