Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Simulation Training for Social Cognition

Technology #6632

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Categories
Researchers
Stephan F. Taylor
Managed By
Drew Bennett
Associate Director - Software Licensing 734-615-4004

This technology is designed to develop social cognition skills in individuals with autism or schizophrenia. Social cognition is a person’s ability to recognize emotions or intentions in a person and plan an appropriate response. The trait relies on facial features, tones, and verbal context. These skills are often impaired in individuals with autism or schizophrenia. This can lead to an inability to function in many social contexts, and contributes to stigma against individuals with mental disorders. While medicine-based treatment can help with some aspects of these disorders, none are able to handle the difficult problem of social cognition.

A game-based approach to better social cognition

This technology harnesses the remarkable tenacity of videogames to develop social cognition skills. By allowing individuals to practice in a relatively risk-free environment, social cognition can be built in a context with less anxiety, allowing greater learning. This technology has the potential to become an effective learning tool in classrooms, clinics, and individual households. While it will not displace medications, it can help to supplement treatment. A similar technology, Mindreading, has been used in the past. However, the technology is outdated. This technology is compatible with modern operating systems and includes the SOAR cognitive architecture to exercise specific mentalizing functions.

Applications

  • Treatment of schizophrenia and related psychoses.
  • Treatment of autism spectrum disorders.
  • Treatment of other conditions with social cognitive deficits.

Advantages

  • Specific targeting of mentalizing functions.