Counteracting the “Jumping to Conclusion” bias in schizophrenia with a combination of neuromodulation and metacognitive training

In Canada around 1% of the population is diagnosed with schizophrenia, roughly corresponding to 40 000 people in British Columbia. One typical feature of Schizophrenia is making hasty decisions without weighing evidence; this is known as the "Jumping to Conclusion" (JTC) bias. The bias can be understood as a tendency of quickly committing a final decision based only on the first available evidence. One of the most successful forms of treating the bias in schizophrenia is Metacognitive Training. During this therapy, patients try to question the logic of their own decisions. The goal of this project is to enhance the beneficial effect of this treatment and establish methods for objective monitoring of successful therapy. The previous research of Prof. Woodward lab showed that is possible to track neural connections of brain regions involved in the JTC bias. Here, we plan to identify these networks in each of our patients. Next, using a new technology for safe electric modulation of neural connectivity, we will strengthen connections in the network. Through multiple testing sessions we will monitor changes in the brains of patients and thus the progress of therapy. This project can help us improve the treatment of schizophrenia.