CNTRICS Imaging Biomarkers Selection: Working Memory

The sixth meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (CNTRICS) consortium was focused on selecting promising imaging biomarker measures for each of the cognitive constructs selected in the first CNTRICS meeting. In the domain of working memory (WM), the 2 constructs of interest were “goal maintenance” and “interference control.” CNTRICS received 7 task nominations for goal maintenance and 3 task nominations for interference control. For goal maintenance, the breakout group for WM recommended the AX Continuous Performance Test/Dot Pattern Expectancy (DPX) and the Switching Stroop task for translation and further development for use in clinical trial contexts in schizophrenia research. Notably, these same 2 paradigms were recommended for “rule generation and selection” in executive control, a highly related construct. For interference control, the breakout group recommended the Suppress Task and the Sternberg Item Recognition Paradigm for translation for use in clinical trials. This manuscript describes the ways in which each of these tasks met the criteria used by the breakout group to recommend tasks for further development. In addition, the group revisited the construct of WM capacity. Since the initial CNTRICS meeting, a growing body of work has emerged on the neurobiological substrates of WM capacity, making measure of this construct ready for translation. The group suggested a promising imaging biomarker measure for capacity, a version of the change detection task that measures delay activity over posterior parietal and occipital cortex.