Pupillometer-based neurofeedback cognitive training to improve processing speed and social functioning in individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis

Jimmy Choi, Cheryl M. Corcoran, Joanna M. Fiszdon, Michael Stevens, Daniel C. Javitt, Melissa Deasy, Lawrence C. Haber, Michael J. Dewberry, Godfrey D. Pearlson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objective: Among individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis, processing speed (PS) has been related to social and role functioning regardless of conversion to schizophrenia. This information processing dysfunction is a gateway to broader behavioral deficits such as difficulty executing social behaviors. We examined the feasibility of improving information processing relevant to social situations in CHR, including its sustainability at 2-month follow-up, and its association with concurrent social function. Method: This was a double-blind RCT in which 62 CHR participants were randomized to Processing Speed Training (PST) or an active control matched for training format and the same dose and duration of treatment. PST is a tablet-based program that uses pupillometry-based neurofeedback to continually adjust training parameters for an optimal neurocognitive load and to improve visual scanning efficiency by inhibiting selection of nonessential targets and discriminating figure-ground details. Results: The PST group showed faster motoric and nonmotoric PS at post training and 2-month follow-up. At 2 month follow-up, the PST group reported better overall social adjustment. Changes in PS from baseline to 2 months were correlated with overall social adjustment and social avoidance in the entire sample. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: This is the first study to test focal neurofeedback-based cognitive training for PS deficits in the putatively prodromal phase of schizophrenia to address associated social morbidity. Targeting PS appears to be a promising pathway to decreasing comorbidity and mitigating a risk factor for psychosis.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)33-42
    Number of pages10
    JournalPsychiatric Rehabilitation Journal
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


    • Clinical high risk for psychosis
    • Cognitive remediation
    • Neurofeedback
    • Pupillometry

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
    • Rehabilitation
    • Psychiatry and Mental health


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