A National Research Priority Program of  
the

Logo der Deutschen Forschungsgesellschaft

Funding Period 2007 - 2010

P17

Effects of nicotine on social cognition and social stress in schizophrenia

Priv.-Doz. Dr. Wolfgang Wolwer (Principle Investigator)
University of Duesseldorf
Dept. of Psychiatry
Bergische Landstr. 2, 40629 Duesseldorf
+49-(0)211/922-2002
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

together with:

Dr. med. Georg Winterer (Principle Investigator)
Cologne Center for Genomics
Institute for Genetics
University of Cologne
Zülpicher Str. 47
50674 Cologne
+49-221-470-1350
Fax: +49-221-470-1350
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Self-medication of attentional deficits and of increased stress vulnerability may contribute to nicotine-dependence both in schizophrenia patients and healthy subjects. However, very little is known about the effect of nicotine on stress in schizophrenia. In particular social stressors are highly relevant in schizophrenia often resulting in social withdrawal. A factor contributing to the stress-eliciting nature of social interaction is the misidentification of social information during communication with others. The present project aims at an investigation of nicotine effects on such social information processing and its neurophysiological correlates and on social stress responses. Using a 2x2-factorial design effects of nicotine vs. placebo are experimentally investigated in smoking schizophrenia patients in comparison to smoking healthy controls each after an overnight smoking deprivation. Nicotine will be administered by nasal spray delivering a systemic does of 2 mg nicotine. Event-related EEG potentials will be recorded during the presentation of pictures of facial affect and neutral control stimuli to assess social information processing and its neurophysiological correlates. In addition a videotaped semi-standardized conversation skills role-play test will be used as a social stress situation to assess self-reported and non-verbal affective responses.