OBJECTIVE - Patients with schizophrenia have widespread cognitive impairments, with selective deficits in relational memory. We previously reported a differential relational memory deficit in schizophrenia using the Associative Inference Paradigm (AIP), a task suggested by the Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (CNTRICS) initiative to examine relational memory. However, the AIP had limited feasibility for testing in schizophrenia because of high attrition of schizophrenia patients during training. Here we developed and tested a revised version of the AIP to improve feasibility.
METHOD - 30 healthy control and 37 schizophrenia subjects received 3 study-test sessions on 3 sets of paired associates: H-F1 (house paired with face), H-F2 (same house paired with new face), and F3-F4 (two novel faces). After training, subjects were tested on the trained, noninferential Face-Face pairs (F3-F4) and novel, inferential Face-Face pairs (F1-F2), constructed from the faces of the trained House-Face pairs.
RESULTS - Schizophrenia patients were significantly more impaired on the inferential F1-F2 pairs than the noninferential F3-F4 pairs, providing evidence for a differential relational memory deficit. Only 8% of schizophrenia patients were excluded from testing because of poor training performance.
CONCLUSIONS - The revised AIP confirmed the previous finding of a relational memory deficit in a larger and more representative sample of schizophrenia patients.