Friday, March 6, 2009

Reality monitoring

Reality monitoring in a hypothetically hallucination-prone population. The aim of this work was to analyze the performance of hypothetically hallucination-prone subjects in source discrimination tasks. Two experiments were carried out with external source (pictorial and verbal) discrimination tasks. In Experiment 1, materials and encoding tasks (naming, function, and mental imagery) were manipulated. In Experiment 2, the variables were materials, encoding task and delay of memory test.

The results showed that hypothetically hallucination-prone subjects encode external information and make use of information about prototypical features of memory traces in a similar way to non-prone subjects. These findings, discussed within Johnson and Raye’s reality monitoring model, may serve to define the conditions under which normal and abnormal source discrimination failures occur.

Psychological treatment appears an effective procedure for reducing the impact of stressful psychotic experiences, improving patients’ social functioning and reducing family stress, in conjunction with psychopharmacological treatment. It is interesting to note that in all psychological interventions some type of stress management strategy was used, aimed at helping patients and caregivers to cope more effectively with everyday problems; and this in addition to stress reduction procedures associated with concepts of expressed emotion and focused on the promotion of more tolerant behaviour and attitudes toward patients.

However, the effectiveness of these approaches has been considered separately. Thus, interventions have in each case been directed towards one of the components of the problem: the family, the patient’s skills (social, problem-solving, coping in general), positive symptomatology, or the introduction of environmental support. Paradoxically, and in spite of the recognition that schizophrenia results from several factors and should therefore be approached in a multidimensional way, integrated treatment models have been very little used.

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