Clinical and neuroimaging data has been increasingly used in recent years to disentangle heterogeneity of treatment response to cognitive training (CT) and predict which individuals may achieve the highest benefits. CT has small to medium effects on improving cognitive and social functioning in recent onset psychosis (ROP) patients, who show the most profound cognitive and social functioning deficits among psychiatric patients. We employed multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) to investigate the potential of cognitive data to predict social functioning improvement in response to 10 h of CT in patients with ROP. A support vector machine (SVM) classifier was trained on the naturalistic data of the Personalized Prognostic Tools for Early Psychosis Management (PRONIA) study sample to predict functioning in an independent sample of 70 ROP patients using baseline cognitive data. PRONIA is a part of a FP7 EU grant program that involved 7 sites across 5 European countries, designed and conducted with the main aim of identifying (bio)markers associated with an enhanced risk of developing psychosis in order to improve early detection and prognosis. Social functioning was predicted with a balanced accuracy (BAC) of 66.4% (Sensitivity 78.8%; Specificity 54.1%; PPV 60.5%; NPV 74.1%; AUC 0.64; P = 0.01). The most frequently selected cognitive features (mean feature weights > ± 0.2) included the (1) correct number of symbol matchings within the Digit Symbol Substitution Test, (2) the number of distracting stimuli leading to an error within 300 and 200 trials in the Continuous Performance Test and (3) the dynamics of verbal fluency between 15 and 30 s within the Verbal Fluency Test, phonetic part. Next, the SVM classifier generated on the PRONIA sample was applied to the intervention sample, that obtained 54 ROP patients who were randomly assigned to a social cognitive training (SCT) or treatment as usual (TAU) group and dichotomized into good (GF-S ≥ 7) and poor (GF-S < 7) functioning patients based on their level of Global Functioning-Social (GF-S) score at follow-up (FU). By applying the initial PRONIA classifier, using out-of-sample cross-validation (OOCV) to the sample of ROP patients who have undergone the CT intervention, a BAC of 59.3% (Sensitivity 70.4%; Specificity 48.1%; PPV 57.6%; NPV 61.9%; AUC 0.63) was achieved at T0 and a BAC of 64.8% (Sensitivity 66.7%; Specificity 63.0%; PPV 64.3%; NPV 65.4%; AUC 0.66) at FU. After SCT intervention, a significant improvement in predicted social functioning values was observed in the SCT compared to TAU group (P ≤0.05; ES[Cohens' d] = 0.18). Due to a small sample size and modest variance of social functioning of the intervention sample it was not feasible to predict individual response to SCT in the current study. Our findings suggest that the use of baseline cognitive data could provide a robust individual estimate of future social functioning, while prediction of individual response to SCT using cognitive data that can be generated in the routine patient care remains to be addressed in large-scale cognitive training trials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110864
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Pages (from-to)110864
Publication statusPublished - 10.01.2024

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 206-10 Clinical Psychiatry, Psychotherapy amd Paediatric and Juvenile Psychiatrie


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