Social cognitive deficits in schizophrenia are well documented and related to functional outcome. Current social cognition measures are often not psychometrically validated, too heterogeneous for standardization, and focus principally on one domain of social cognition rather than the simultaneous activation of multiple domains. Also, few if any allow for personalization of stimuli and interpretation of personally evocative events. An alternative methodology that addresses these limitations is the analysis of samples of personal narratives. The present study evaluates the psychometric properties of a measure called the Narrative of Emotions Task (NET). The NET was used to assess the performance of participants with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and nonclinical controls. Use of the NET revealed significant impairments in the emotional narratives of participants with schizophrenia. Various NET indices were significantly related to current measures of theory of mind and emotion perception, as well as a social skills role-play, but were not related to measures of attributional style or clinician-rated functioning scales. Overall, the NET's psychometric properties justify further use of the narrative sampling method of social cognition assessment in this population.
- Social cognition