Auditory versus visual neuroscience-informed cognitive training in schizophrenia: Effects on cognition, symptoms and quality of life

Linda Scoriels, Larissa T. Genaro, Luana G.C. Mororó, Stella Keffer, Anna Luiza D.V. Guimarães, Paulo V.S. Ribeiro, Filippe M. Tannos, Caroline Novaes, Aniela I. França, Nelson Goldenstein, Barbara J. Sahakian, Maria T. Cavalcanti, Melissa Fisher, Sophia Vinogradov, Rogerio Panizzutti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cognitive impairments are related to deficits in primary auditory and visual sensory processes in schizophrenia. These impairments can be remediated by neuroscience-informed computerized cognitive trainings that target auditory and visual processes. However, it is not clear which modality results in greater improvements in cognition, symptoms and quality of life. We aimed to investigate the impact of training auditory versus visual cognitive processes in global cognition in patients with schizophrenia. Methods: Seventy-nine schizophrenia participants were randomly assigned to either 40 h of auditory or visual computerized training. Auditory and visual exercises were chosen to be dynamically equivalent and difficulties increased progressively during the training. We evaluated cognition, symptoms and quality of life before, after 20 h, and after 40 h of training. (1R03TW009002-01). Results: Participants who received the visual training showed significant improvements in global cognition compared to the auditory training group. The visual training significantly improved attention and reasoning and problem-solving, while the auditory training improved reasoning and problem-solving only. Schizophrenia symptoms improved after training in both groups, whereas quality of life remained unchanged. Interestingly, there was a significant and positive correlation between improvements in attention and symptoms in the visual training group. Conclusions: We conclude that the visual training and the auditory training are differentially efficient at remediating cognitive deficits and symptoms of clinically stable schizophrenia patients. Ongoing follow-up of participants will evaluate the durability of training effects on cognition and symptoms, as well as the potential impact on quality of life over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-326
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health – Fogarty International Center (Grant R03TW009002 to SV and RP); Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ) (Grant E-26/110.305/2014 to RP) and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) (Grant 400455/2012-9 to RP). RP is an Atlantic Fellow of the Global Brain Health Institute. LG, LM, SK, AG, PR, FT and CN were supported by fellowships from FAPERJ and CNPq. The cognitive training software used in this study and all technical support were provided to us free of charge by Posit Science, Inc.


  • Auditory training
  • Cognitive training
  • Computerized training
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Schizophrenia
  • Visual training

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