Measuring negative symptom change in schizophrenia: considering alternatives to self-report
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Treatment of negative symptoms in schizophrenia is a priority, but is approaching stagnation, due in part to the methods used to assess change in these symptoms. Traditional methods for assessing negative symptoms employ subjective self-report and/or clinician-rated scales, both of which are contaminated by considerable measurement error. The purpose of this article is to highlight the limitations in current assessment measures for negative symptoms and discuss the advantages of quantitative objective measurement, particularly in the context of clinical trial research. Recent research from psychology, neuroscience and computer technology has produced objective quantitative measures such as facial analysis and virtual reality that are more precise and sensitive to change; these objective measures are poised to revolutionize the measurement of this critical symptom.
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