Social Information Processing: Assessment Development
Project Summary: The primary specific aim of this R21 project is to develop visual stimuli for a computer- based, comprehensive, assessment of Social Information Processing (SIP) in adults. The secondary specific aim is to perform a preliminary study of the relationship between this enhanced assessment of SIP and an assessment of Emotional Information Processing (EIP). SIP is concerned with the various processes (many of which are automatic) involved in the assessment and disposition of social interaction. SIP has long been studied in children and adolescents with externalizing disorders in which population multiple deficits (e.g., reduced encoding of social cues, hostile attribution bias) in SIP have been demonstrated, particularly in relation to childhood trauma and abuse and the development of aggressive behavior. While this work has led to a long and productive series of studies in children/adolescents, little work on SIP in adults has been done. This is largely because of a lack of adequate tools to assess SIP in adults. In this R21 project, the PI proposes to use the Adult SIP Vignettes he has already developed as the basis for the development of a series of visual presentation stimuli relevant to SIP. The first set of visual stimuli, in the form of "illustrated storyboards", will be incorporated onto a computer-based presentation platform (E-Prime) and tested in Healthy Volunteers and in subjects with Intermittent Explosive Disorder. If these visual stimuli prove effective in the assessment of the various aspects of SIP (especially in the case of the first SIP Step of "encoding"), the stimuli will then be adapted into brief "video clips", which will in turn be tested again in a second group of Healthy Volunteers and subjects with IED. A series of reliability and initial validity studies will be done for both the "storyboards" and the "video clips". These include studies of internal consistency, test-retest reliability, Healthy Volunteer vs. IED group differences in SIP parameters, and correlation with relevant convergent and divergent measures (e.g., automatic hostile thoughts, aggression, history of childhood trauma, etc.) and Emotional Information Processing (accuracy of identifying facial emotion). Relevance: SIP is a critical component to the process involved in generating aggressive behavior in response to social interaction. There are no standardized measures of SIP in adults and no assessment that is delivered in a controlled fashion. In addition, there are no standardized stimuli for SIP assessment that can be used in imaging environments. Development of such measures is critical for the further scientific study of SIP and for its integration in neurobiologhical research.