Figure 3. Memory performances of following instructions in patients with schizophrenia with and without working memory deficits and healthy controls. Encoding conditions include: VT = verbal task condition (pure verbal instructions), EPT = Experimenter-performed task, SPT = Subject-performed task SPT.
In a similar study, Drs. YANG and CHAN have also shown that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) displayed impairments in following instructions compared to healthy controls, but children with ADHD could also benefit from action-based presentation and recall in the same way as their healthy counterparts(T.-x. Yang, Allen, Holmes, & Chan, 2017).
Taken together, these findings have important implications for both clinicians and educators. On the one hand, the present findings shed light onto the importance of action-based processing in everyday life functions and are potential manipulating variable to be considered in cognitive rehabilitation for persons with schizophrenia or other disorders having working memory impairments. On the other hand, action-based methods of instruction-delivery may also enhance classroom learning for children with working memory deficits. Carers and family members should encourage persons with schizophrenia and ADHD to perform the actions or demonstrating the actions when teaching or asking the affected probands in addition to spoken instructions.
Dr. CHAN’s team is now undertaking studies incorporating this innovative behavioural task to neuroimaging paradigm to further examine the underlying neural mechanism of following instruction in clinical samples. Their ultimate goal is to translate their findings to clinical practice and help to improve the functional outcome of patients with working memory impairments such as schizophrenia and ADHD.
These two studies were supported by grants from the Beijing Training Project for Leading Talents in Science and Technology, the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission Grant, the National Science Funding of China, the National Basic Research Programme, and the CAS/SAFEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams, and the CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health.
The paper is now available online from Schizophrenia Bulletin
- Lui, S. S. Y., Yang, T. X., Ng, C. L. Y., Wong, P. T. Y., Wong, J. O. Y., Ettinger, U., Cheung, E. F. C., Chan, R. C. K.* Following instructions in patients with schizophrenia: The benefits of actions at encoding and recall. Schizophrenia Bulletin, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbx026 (link to paper: chrome://coba/content/container.xhtml?url=https://academic.oup.com/schizophreniabulletin/article/3844722/Following-Instructions-in-Patients-With)
- Yang, T. X.*, Allen, R. J., Holmes, J., Chan, R. C. K. (2017). Impaired memory for instructions in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders is improved by action at presentation and recall. Frontiers in Psychology, 8:39. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00039
Related paper includes
- Yang, T. X.*, Allen, R. J., Yu, Q. J., Chan, R. C. K. (2015). The influence of input and output modality on following instructions in working memory. Scientific Reports, 5:17657 | DOI: 10.1038/srep17657
- Yang, T.-x.*, Allen, R. J., & Gathercole, S. E. (2016). Examining the role of working memory resources in following spoken instructions. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 28(2), 186-198. doi: 10.1080/20445911.2015.1101118.
- Yang, T.*, Gathercole, S. E., & Allen, R. J. (2014). Benefit of enactment over oral repetition of verbal instruction does not require additional working memory during encoding. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21(1), 186-192. doi: 10.3758/s13423-013-0471-7
Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences