My PhD…in Brief

I’ve got my upgrade from MPhil to PhD coming up, so I need to reduce my proposal for 3 years writing, planning and data collection into less than 250 words…here goes!

Metacognition and Insight in Psychosis and Dementia

“Patients’ awareness of their psychiatric illness is a multi-dimensional construct that can have implications for treatment and recovery in patients. Recent research has suggested that insight could be related to or mediated by metacognition, the cognitive process and ability to ‘thinking about thinking’. Studies have shown that metacognitive ability is related to grey matter volume and white matter connections in the prefrontal cortex; grey matter volume in this area is also related to awareness of illness in psychosis and Alzheimer ’s disease. Mood has also been implicated as a mediator of awareness in both conditions, where lower mood is related to improved awareness. This study proposes to investigate the possibility of related neural networks in awareness of illness and metacognitive abilities in these two patient groups.

The relationship between behavioural measures of metacognition, using confidence judgements, will be compared to self-report assessments of Cognitive Insight and Mood in controls, with a sub-study investigating the effect of temporary induced positive or negative mood. The same measures will be completed by both sets of patients. Later investigations will involve the use of imaging techniques to investigate structural and functional differences between the patient and control groups. “

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