People with schizophrenia often demonstrate deficits in theory of mind (ToM), which may be addressed via social cognition training that includes observation and imitation of social emotions. We examined the effect of observation and imitation on ToM and whether computerized cognitive training (CCT) can improve ToM. Among 14 controlled trials, 264 of 494 people with schizophrenia received treatment. Observation and imitation of social emotions improved cognitive (g = 0.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.29-0.76) and affective ToM (g = 0.54; 95% CI, 0.34-0.73), versus treatment as usual or cognitive rehabilitation alone. CCT did not significantly enhance affective ToM (p = 0.42); however, cognitive ToM improvements without CCT (g = 1.20; 95% CI, 0.78-1.61) were superior to those with CCT (g = 0.33; 95% CI, 0.02-0.64; p < 0.01). Observation and imitation of social emotions are essential for improving ToM in schizophrenia, but CCT may not improve ToM.
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