Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2012 Dec;10(3):125-135. 10.9758/cpn.2012.10.3.125.

Cognitive Remediation in Schizophrenia

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Cognitive deficits in schizophrenia are pervasive, severe, and largely independent of the positive and negative symptoms of the illness. These deficits are increasingly considered to be core features of schizophrenia with evidence that the extent of cognitive impairment is the most salient predictor of daily functioning. Unfortunately, current schizophrenia treatment has been limited in addressing the cognitive deficits of the illness. Alterations in neuroplasticity are hypothesized to underpin these cognitive deficits, though preserved neuroplasticity may offer an avenue towards cognitive remediation. Key neuroplastic principles to consider in designing remediation interventions include ensuring sufficient intensity and duration of remediation programs, "bottom-up" training that proceeds from simple to complex cognitive processes, and individual tailoring of remediation regimens. We discuss several cognitive remediation programs, including cognitive enhancement therapy, which embrace these principles to target neurocognitive and social cognitive improvements and which havebeen demonstrated to be effective in schizophrenia. Future directions in cognitive remediation research include potential synergy with pharmacologic treatment, non-invasive stimulation techniques, and psychosocial interventions, identification of patient characteristics that predict outcome with cognitive remediation, and increasing the access to these interventions in front-line settings.


Schizophrenia; Cognition disorders/pathology; Cognition disorders/therapy; Cognition disorders/rehabilitation; Neuronal plasticity

MeSH Terms

Neuronal Plasticity
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