Learning potential in persons with serious mental illness: investigating intra-individual differences in the learning process
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Learning potential has been explored as a possible mechanism to predict positive rehabilitation outcomes in people with SMI (e.g., Green et al. 2000). More recent research has identified a strong relationship between attention and working memory tasks and improvement after training on dynamic assessments (i.e. learning potential), which may indicate a dependence on these key neurocognitive constructs. The primary aim of the current study, to measure the influence of working memory and attention skills within the learning process, is an important next step in current research investigating learning potential in people with SMI. A total of 192 participants with an SMI diagnosis (schizophrenia spectrum, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder) completed a battery of neurocognitive and psychiatric measures. Participants also completed a testtrain- test intervention using the Wisconsin Card Sorting test. Participants were categorized as high performers, learners or non-learner based on their intervention performance. Correlational analyses revealed that large and moderate effect sizes were seen in relationships between learning potential and variables conceptualized to capture working memory and attention. Further, comparison of the strength of correlations iv between neurocognitive variables and learning potential showed a stronger relationship with tasks associated with working memory. It has been demonstrated that cognitive performance can serve as an indicator of how well a person will do in response to interventions designed to improve functional outcomes. By measuring learning potential performance, intervention response can be further enhanced by identifying target areas for remediation, such as working memory. Rehabilitation efforts and functional outcomes can be strengthened by a greater understanding of the learning process and knowledge of how people with SMI learn, therefore maximizing the utility of current intervention and community services.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of literature -- Methodology -- Results -- Discussion