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Verbal Learning and Memory Enhancement Strategies in Schizophrenia: A Randomized, Controlled Investigation

  • Matthew M. Kurtz (a1) (a2), Christi L. Trask (a1), Rachel Rosengard (a1), Simone Hyman (a1), Lisa Kremen (a1), Shyle Mehta (a1), Rachel Olfson (a1), Sam Rispaud (a1), Sofia Zaidman (a1) and Jimmy Choi (a2)...

Objectives: Verbal episodic memory is a key domain of impairment in people with schizophrenia with close ties to a variety of aspects of functioning and therapeutic treatment response. A randomized, blinded trial of two mnemonic strategies for verbal episodic memory deficits for people with schizophrenia was conducted. Methods: Sixty-one people with schizophrenia were assigned to one of three experimental conditions: training in a mnemonic strategy that included both visualization and narrative structure (Story Method), a condition in which participants were trained to visualize words interacting with one another (Imagery), or a non-trained control condition in which participants received equivalent exposure to training word lists and other verbal memory assessments administered in the other two conditions, but without provision of any compensatory mnemonic strategy. Participants were assessed on improvements in recall of the word list used as part of training, as well as two, standardized verbal memory assessments which included stimuli not used as part of strategy training. Results: The Story Method produced improvements on a trained word list that generalized to a non-trained, prose memory task at a 1-week follow-up. In contrast, provision of a mnemonic strategy of simple visualization of words produced little improvement on word recall of trained words or on measures of generalization relative to the performance of participants in the control condition. Conclusions: These findings support the inclusion of enriched mnemonic strategies consisting of both visualization and narrative structure in sustained and comprehensive programs of CR for enhancement of verbal episodic memory in schizophrenia. (JINS, 2017, 23, 352–357)

Corresponding author
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Matthew M. Kurtz, Department of Psychology, Judd Hall, 207 High Street Middletown, CT, 06459. E-mail:
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Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
  • ISSN: 1355-6177
  • EISSN: 1469-7661
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society
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