Research suggests that early identification and intervention with individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis may be able to improve the course of illness. The first generation of studies suggested that the identification of CHR through the use of specialized interviews evaluating attenuated psychosis symptoms is a promising strategy for exploring mechanisms associated with illness progression, etiology, and identifying new treatment targets. The next generation of research on psychosis risk must address two major limitations: (1) interview methods have limited specificity, as recent estimates indicate that only 15%-30% of individuals identified as CHR convert to psychosis and (2) the expertise needed to make CHR diagnosis is only accessible in a handful of academic centers. Here, we introduce a new approach to CHR assessment that has the potential to increase accessibility and positive predictive value. Recent advances in clinical and computational cognitive neuroscience have generated new behavioral measures that assay the cognitive mechanisms and neural systems that underlie the positive, negative, and disorganization symptoms that are characteristic of psychotic disorders. We hypothesize that measures tied to symptom generation will lead to enhanced sensitivity and specificity relative to interview methods and the cognitive intermediate phenotype measures that have been studied to date that are typically indicators of trait vulnerability and, therefore, have a high false positive rate for conversion to psychosis. These new behavioral measures have the potential to be implemented on the internet and at minimal expense, thereby increasing accessibility of assessments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- clinical high risk
- schizophrenia prodrome