• UMCG, GGZ Drenthe


  • GGZ Drenthe, CleVR, GGZ Delfland

2016 – 2018


Finance by

  • NWO


Saskia Nijman MSc
email: saskia.nijman@ggzdrenthe.nl

Rationale: People with psychotic disorders commonly experience deficits in social cognition and social functioning. Social cognition training (SCT) has been shown to have beneficial effects on social cognition tasks, but generalization to social functioning in daily life is limited. Current SCT stimuli do not seem to be ecologically valid, and patients cannot practice skills in dynamic social interactions. We propose that this problem could be solved by providing SCT in Virtual Reality (VR). VR allows for practice of skills in situations resembling real life, yet is safe and controllable. We want to pilot this new intervention in preparation for a randomized controlled trial (RCT).Objective: To determine the feasibility and acceptability of VR SCT and to explore the effect of VR SCT on behaviour, social cognition and physiological measures in people with a psychotic disorder. To study behavior in VR (interpersonal distance, viewing behavior, heart rate and emotion recognition) in people with a psychotic disorder and healthy controls, to gain knowledge on the difference in behaviour and to improve the VR SCT.Study design: This study is a feasibility study with a patient group with a psychotic disorder (PD) and a healthy control group (HC). PD will receive the intervention, baseline and post-intervention assessment will be obtained. HC will only perform a baseline measure with one VR SCT session. Study population: PD consist of 25 individuals with a psychotic disorder and social cognition problems, age 18-65, recruited from the department of psychiatry of the UMCG and GGZ Drenthe. Twenty-five HC, age 18-65, will be recruited through social mediaIntervention: The VR SCT consists of sixteen sessions, during an 8-week timeframe. Session lasts 60 minutes. During sessions, social cognition is trained in virtual environments. The intervention consists of three modules: facial affect recognition, emotion recognition within a context, and theory of mind & interaction training. Main study parameters/endpoints: Primary outcome: Acceptability, utility and feasibility of the intervention, measured using questionnaires and interviews. Secondary outcome: social cognitive, neurocognitive and psychophysiological outcome measures.